The spring 2022 issue of 34 Orchard contains poetry, short stories, and illustrations representing vastly different voices and styles and plots, all united by the theme things we refuse to see.
Each work comes with a high-concept idea. The stanzas are emotive, the prose is polished, the artwork is contemplative. Some personal faves:
It’s the same story with the under the bed monsters. They can’t live there because Mister Skinandbones likes to sleep there at night. He can fit anywhere, at any time.Selah Janel, “Mr. Skinandbones”
Put a kid in a horror story like Janel did in “Mr. Skinandbones,” and it’s automatically scarier. This story about a kid’s imaginary friend freaked me out.
I look through the items in industrial sized trash bags for traces of her, / for things she loved or touched.Lynne Schmidt, “Less than Twelve Hours after She Is Dead, We Begin to Erase Her”
Schmidt’s poem will resonate with anyone who has had to deal with a loved one’s possessions after the loved one has passed.
The fish in their tank crowd to one side and stare across the aisle at the fish in the opposite tank. Sometimes Martin is sure that they are all staring at him.Die Booth, “Floor Five”
Booth’s story is a clever and surreal tale about office life. It terrified me and made me feel trapped even though it’s not a “scary” story.
Lately, a Civil War ghost has been haunting our neighborhood. His torso is covered in blood, so I can’t make out his uniform, but surely he’s a Civil War soldier. Who else would he be?Priscilla Bettis, “Mollusk Madness”
Wait, isn’t “Mollusk Madness” your story, Priscilla? Well, yes. It’s a highlight for me because it’s cool to see my story published!
Editor Kristi Petersen Schoonover has put together another impressive issue of 34 Orchard. Download it free from the journal’s website: 34orchard.com.
Today’s feature image is Darker Beach: The Five of Cups by Annie Dunn Watson, © Annie Dunn Watson, 2021. Watson explains, “The 100 Day Project, Day 24. Here in this edge-place, on the shores of Vermont’s Lake Champlain, a cloaked figure ponders, but does not see.” Today’s image is also the cover art for 34 Orchard, Issue 5.