Editors' Notes

Maria Damon and Michelle Greenblatt
Jim Leftwich and Michelle Greenblatt
Sheila E. Murphy and Michelle Greenblatt

A Visual Conversation on Michelle Greenblatt's ASHES AND SEEDS with Stephen Harrison, Monika Mori | MOO, Jonathan Penton and Michelle Greenblatt

Letters for Michelle: with work by Jukka-Pekka Kervinen, Jeffrey Side, Larry Goodell, mark hartenbach, Charles J. Butler, Alexandria Bryan and Brian Kovich

Visual Poetry by Reed Altemus
Poetry by Glen Armstrong
Poetry by Lana Bella
A Eulogic Poem by John M. Bennett
Elegic Poetry by John M. Bennett
Poetry by Wendy Taylor Carlisle
A Eulogy by Vincent A. Cellucci
Poetry by Vincent A. Cellucci
Poetry by Joel Chace
A Spoken Word Poem and Visual Art by K.R. Copeland
A Eulogy by Alan Fyfe
Poetry by Win Harms
Poetry by Carolyn Hembree
Poetry by Cindy Hochman
A Eulogy by Steffen Horstmann
A Eulogic Poem by Dylan Krieger
An Elegic Poem by Dylan Krieger
Visual Art by Donna Kuhn
Poetry by Louise Landes Levi
Poetry by Jim Lineberger
Poetry by Dennis Mahagin
Poetry by Peter Marra
A Eulogy by Frankie Metro
A Song by Alexis Moon and Jonathan Penton
Poetry by Jay Passer
A Eulogy by Jonathan Penton
Visual Poetry by Anne Elezabeth Pluto and Bryson Dean-Gauthier
Visual Art by Marthe Reed
A Eulogy by Gabriel Ricard
Poetry by Alison Ross
A Short Movie by Bernd Sauermann
Poetry by Christopher Shipman
A Spoken Word Poem by Larissa Shmailo
A Eulogic Poem by Jay Sizemore
Elegic Poetry by Jay Sizemore
Poetry by Felino A. Soriano
Visual Art by Jamie Stoneman
Poetry by Ray Succre
Poetry by Yuriy Tarnawsky
A Song by Marc Vincenz

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Coming Attraction
by Tom Bonfiglio

Jenna's in bed, several pillows propping her to an almost sitting position, watching as a shirtless Collier performs his nightly calisthenics. She likes staring at his muscles and counting the striations in his back.

"Jenna," he says rising, breathing hard. He has blue eyes, the same blue as a stuffed animal she had as a child, his hair a Nordic blonde. He'd be a real catch if he wasn't so short is the best way to think about him. "Why'd you go to the doctor today?"

"Because I'm pregnant?" she says. "There's that reason. With child, I think they call it. A bun in the oven. I'm pretty sure you already knew that."

"I'm pretty sure you already knew it too," he says. "Right? Why the hell pay money to confirm what you already knew?"

She rolls over and kicks the covers off, stretching her tan legs. She's willowy, so slender it makes her seem taller than she actually is.

"He's my gyno," she says. "My doctor."

"You need a doctor why?" he says. "You're not sick."

"I hope you're not serious. You do know that women who get pregnant see a doctor, right? Or did you think they just show up at the hospital unannounced and take a number? Goodnight," she says, pulling the covers back over her. "Turn off the light while you get ready."

"I'm not done talking."

"Then keep it down, please. Maybe you can talk in the other room."

As soon as he walks through the bedroom door the next afternoon he's ready to pounce. She half-expects him to launch into a tumbling routine or at least pace around on his hands for a bit, do a backflip over the bed. That's what he's built like, she thinks. A circus performer.

"Take your tie off before you start," she says. "Otherwise it might feel like I'm getting yelled at by my boss or a teacher."

"You don't have a boss; you'd need to have an actual job in order to have a boss," he says. "No teacher either."

"You're funny," she says. "It's hard to see why my brothers don't like you."

"I hardly spent more than ten minutes talking to those idiots," he says. "Any conclusion they came to about me best can be discounted as the mindless ramblings of three beer-drunk imbeciles."

"The adjective they used most is short. Diminutive. Lilliputian. Abbreviated. "Will you refill my wine, please?" she says, handing him her glass.

"Based on the lack of activity in the kitchen, I assume I'm making dinner tonight," he says.

"Good assumption," she says.

She follows him out as far as the living room and lazily plops down on the couch, putting her bare feet on the glass coffee table. She's tempted to grab a magazine to read while he talks to her but knows better.

"Just bring the whole bottle," she yells to him. "That way I won't make you run back and forth all night."

"Why are you going to see this doctor?" he says, sitting himself next to her.

"You don't get to tell me when I can see my doctor," she says.

"Doctors are for sick people," he says. "You aren't sick. Pregnancy is not a disease."

"My doctor is for vaginas," she says. "Both sick and healthy ones. Mine's really nifty or so I was told yesterday. In case you have any interest in how it's doing. My vagina, that is. I can update you on my uterus and its contents as well."

"Women need a doctor to tell them how to have a baby just as much as they needed a doctor telling them how to get pregnant in the first place," he says. "It's coming out whether you want it to or not. They've managed to take a natural human event, birth, and figured out how to turn it into a huge profit-making scheme. Then again, they do that with death too. Pretty soon we'll be paying for the right to take a shit."

"I'm not delivering my own baby," she says. "It's a bit more complicated than going poop."

"Not really it isn't," he says. "They aren't that different at all. The idea that you want to birth my baby in a hospital is offensive to me."

"Not nearly as offensive as you comparing my vagina to an asshole and our child to feces," she says. "Almost everyone has their babies in a hospital. I want my doctor. This is scary enough as it is. What the hell is wrong with you?"

"And if you go into labor on a weekend or a night when he's not on call, you won't have your doctor. If you think he's going to interrupt his fantasy football draft for you you're sadly mistaken. That's what would scare the shit out of me. I have a say in this, Jenna," he says.

"You do not have a say."

"Cesspools of bacteria, that's what hospitals are. Most doctors don't even wash their hands. There was a time when nearly half of all women died giving birth. When was that? In the caves? When women were having babies at home? No. After they started going to hospitals. Staph," he says. "Staph gone wild."

"You're starting to scare me," she says, refilling her glass.

"Good. That means you actually are listening. Let me know when you're terrified. That's when I'll know the full message has fully sunk in."

"What scares me is your sudden interest in birthing and hospitals," she says.

"It isn't sudden. Have the baby at home. It should be a common practice. I was born at home. Every family member I can think of has been born at home too. Have it here."

"You think it's any cleaner here?" she says, spying a sink load of dirty dishes through the door to the kitchen. "Not unless you let me hire a cleaning lady it won't be."

"These are our bacteria. Yours and mine. The bacteria the baby needs to build immunities against. It makes perfect sense to be born right here."

"Where would I have it? In the bathtub? Our bed? Right here on the couch?" She imagines herself lying on the floor, newspapers spread out under her by Collier to protect the carpet, maybe a paint tarp, him nearby on the floor doing his push-ups.

"On the table I was born on," he says. "The same table my mother and my sisters and all my cousins were born on. It should be at Colleen's. Once we know your due date I'll reserve it and get it sent here. Occasionally there's an overlap but you're the only one of us pregnant now. Set it up in the family room. Plenty of room there. My grandfather was born on that table. Just think about that."

"I'm not having my baby on a table," she says. "I wouldn't even have sex on a table. And no doctor?"

"My mother will recommend somebody. A local midwife. Of course Mom will catch the baby."

She pictures Collier's mom, a tiny, gray-haired woman, athletic and fast moving, with dangerously large hoop earrings and a face like a bird, staring into her vagina, holding a baseball mitt. "I don't think so."

"Please consider it."

"My doctor is just three blocks away. It's so convenient."

"The midwife will come here. They come to you, on your schedule. Nights or weekends."

"If youre mother would be in there then my mother would want to be too."

"Invite them all," he says. "Your brothers, their wives, even their kids. It'll be a real party."

"Very funny," she says.

He grabs the laptop and shows her the research and while she questions some of the sources, most of them affiliated with the home birth "movement," as Collier calls it, much of it is convincing. He uses the word disease at least a dozen times. She's not sure what a staph infection looks like but it sounds like something that can crawl and she pictures it crawling into her baby's mouth and laying eggs in its pink and precious lungs.

Whenever someone questions her decision she finds herself parroting Collier, right down to the condescending tone. The more she talks about it, the more she believes it's the right decision, though the idea of the table does concern her. What kind of table is it? If it's old it probably wobbles. Presumably rectangular; she wonders if it has leafs. He won't tell her. He says she'll get to see it soon enough when they visit his family, a visit scheduled to coincide with his sister Colleen giving birth. They're always within a day on either side of the due date, he says. Let's see any doctor match that record.

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