TriQuarterly

This literary magazine features fiction, poetry, literary essays and graphic art.

Articles from No. 95, Winter

A Conversation with Philip Levine
Chris Wyrick: Congratulations on the big prize! [The Pulitzer Prize in Poetry for The Simple Truth (Knopf, 1994)] Philip Levine: Well, thank you. Yes. It's been a long time coming. But, you see, patience does pay off. Actually, I think it's better to...
A Fate's Brief Memoir
for William Wadsworth 1 A Fate - ask the stars! - gives no interviews, but Visitor, dark from that doomed planet, you have climbed the pitiful thread - blue noose by which your life hangs - so I will let myself answer you. My sisters should shortly...
Allegorical Figure
You danced with my father, who now is crematorium smoke. Gravelly ash, houndstoothed with bone. Yes, I remember him Danced him silly on the various wards, arms akimbo, wires dangling and the unguents' glow, lips caked white from the meds. I've heard...
Ballad of Ashfield Avenue
Along Ashfield Avenue connecting with I-75, rain falls like steel filings. The air's gassy gauze. Are all these neighborhoods so wasted? Driving to hit the green lights. Scared shitless you're gonna hit red. And sit in your Saab sedan, doors locked,...
Blizzard into Text: Contemporary Cross-Gendered Verse
In December of 1994, twenty-eight American poets were asked to contribute new poems to a selection of contemporary cross-gendered verse. The criterion was simple: write a first-person poem, sans exposition, explicitly in the voice of the other gender....
Courting a Monk
When I first saw my husband he was sitting cross-legged under a tree on the quad, his hair as short as peach fuzz, large blue eyes staring upward, the smile on his face so wide and undirected as to seem moronic. I went flying by him every minute or two,...
Frank Blank Whose Depression Was Banished
How have I changed? Let me count. I look at garbage piling up to overflow the can, and my disgust translates to action. I need to rise from my chair to get my spectacles, which I really cannot be without; so I dress and go downtown to see Aida. My...
From Translation
The most highly esteemed poet among American intellectuals is probably the Irishman Seamus Heaney; the most widely honored is surely the Lithuanian Czeslaw Milosz. I mean not only that American readers have a special attraction to foreign poets, but...
Hey, Joe
For Hendrix it's a sweet slow blues, Stratocaster pummeling leisurely the opening bars, a gracile firestorm that Mitchell's drums and Redding's bass must fan and chisel, 4/4 stabs, the conflagration firewalling, as Jimi asks him where he's going with...
His Father's Cadaver
The old man had always wanted to end up there, on the chrome table, the Medical School Dissection Room on that island in the North Atlantic his heaven. So his only child signed the papers - son, M.D. He knew that the students would start with a butterfly...
How William Solomon Invokes Free Will
It's all over. It didn't work. Will never work. All water under the dam. Because, you see, what you said you wanted and what I thought you said you wanted were not the same. Our overalls were: typical blue denim, good for the work at hand. But I couldn't...
Iowa City: Early April
This morning a cat - bright orange - pawing at the one patch of new grass in the sand-and tanbark-colored leaves. And last night the sapphire of the raccoon's eyes in the beam of the flashlight. He was climbing a tree beside the house, trying to get...
I Pushed Her and She Fell Down
I pushed her and she fell down. Parts of me get stripped away each time I change directions. It hurts me terribly. This time parts of someone else got stripped, and I am sorry for that, but I do not regret, I've done nothing wrong, no, nothing whatsoever,...
Lovesong
Bo Jubal, sixteen years old, lashes a halo-gold bandana just above his eyes. His pecan-colored, hoop player's body stands calm without clothes in front of the open window. The green clock's only hand points to four, but because Bo pushed it ahead so...
Marsena Sportsman's Club
You're a girl, Momma said. You're not one of them, they don't want you. You hear me? I said Yes Momma. Never would I defy Momma if there was another way. Only boys were hired at the Marsena Sportsman's Club. Boys from school, boys who lived on our...
Moses in Paradise
And they saw the God of Israel and underneath his foot it was like a brickwork of sapphire and the sky itself for purity. Exodus 24:10 You'll laugh when I tell you how I spend my time here (I'm still not used to it; such greens and blues And no one...
No Sorry
Do you have any scissors I could borrow? No, I'm sorry I don't. What about a knife? You got any knives? A good paring knife would do or a simple butcher knife or maybe a cleaver? No, sorry all I have is this old bread knife my grandfather used to butter...
On a Windy Night
He's at the dinner table talking to his wife, their daughter's sitting between them and says to him "May I be excused?" and he says "How come you always ask me?" and she says "I don't always; I just did this time and some times before. May I?" and he...
On the Run
An old friend came home after years on the run. His father was dying and called for him to come to the hospital. He took the risk and came back. (The risk had to do with deals that soured, money that vanished, and worse I can't talk about.) Two days...
On with the Story
"In our collective headlong flight toward oblivion [Alice reads], there are a few among us still, remarkably, who take time out from time to time to read a made-up story. Of that small number, dear present reader, you are one." The writer of these lines...
Oracle (after Plutarch)
No, below is water in its form of wind-pummeled cloud. In fact we are standing on Hurricane Ridge. And the Park Service road, whipsnaking below. The tree line, the Sound and Victoria Island fifty miles distant into mist. And Ray Carver, shades on,...
Ragtime
Sedalia, Missouri: Maple Leaf Club, Summer 1904 Joplin, sorrowful at the end of his first marriage, in a period of vigorous composition of elegiac drags, to the extent that's possible for ragtime, finally nods assent to the white woman he's seen smiling...
Rajah in Babylon
We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. Psalm 137:2 Rajah doesn't like Nirvana but he seems to tolerate Jimmy Cliff: The Harder They Come is Rachael's little joke, and it's chuffing from her boom box as Rajah paces, his planetary...
Revelation
Though there is no cure, he seeks one In the discussions of the rabbis, in the shade Of the eucalyptus, in the bones of St. Peter fish, In the lyrics of Arik Einstein, in Gitanes. Before sleep, uniform slumped To the ground, pen capped, letter To the...
Sadness of the Body
It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory. 1 Corinthians 15:43 In 1968 my uncle was in charge of the body count. He says very few of the bodies had all their parts by the time he found them, and that some of the smaller parts had already been...
She Speaks across the Years
Translated and adapted from the German of Holderlin "If having gone so far from one another On distant ways, if across all the ways And all the time you know me still who was Your partner in those days in all the sorrow, Then something after all is...
Stir Crazy
When I cut open the unripe fig yesterday, I saw its Blossoms curled up, waiting to bloom from the inside. Which is impossible now that it's sitting on the countertop In halves. The fig tree split in the storm and I Dragged away the part that fell, hundreds...
The Bridge Builder
June 17, 1848. Charles Ellet, Jr., the civil engineer who designed the suspension bridge soon to be built over Niagara Falls, today tested the service span to be used in its construction by driving his horse across the planking. Brooklyn Eagle I, Charles...
The Day I Take Her to the Hospital
is the day she needs me to help her move into her seventh apartment of the decade. What a male partner did or didn't do to her at the firm has sent her over the cliff she's always driven close to the edge of, thick wind in her blonde piled tangles,...
The Great 14th Street Costume Company Clarence Ernest Klister, Prop
Portia is wearing my black velvet robe with flap of taffeta, and red silk cap when she enters stage left. I consider myself King of Delight, the Prospero of Clothing. I am in costumes and accessories. My father was, and deemed his only son should follow...
The Sybil
The way down is easy. Aeneid VI I Crossroads vision, medallion, wet star; bull to my steer; to my bell, steady clapper, the rope and, inside the wind's sleeve, that arm that pulls and pulls it: by these and other names was I told I should call...
The Widow
I She remembers how the pain took the form of an afternoon walk: past the mill wheezing with sawdust, through the pulpy tang of scrub oak and wild lilies by the water, where all she knew seemed as slick as the creek's four stepping-stones. There was...
Tolstoy's American Mailbag: Selected Exchanges with His Occasional Correspondents
Americans read Leo Tolstoy's writings, embraced his ideas, and in their enthusiasm wrote him letters. His philosophical, political and religious writings affected his American readers more than his fiction and elicited by far the greater response. In...
Word Wrap
Steady as a letterpress, building up and up to text, as the hum of what was, the blizzard hisses on the windows. Each snowflake clots around a dust to form its null abundance. Clap the erasers == In the old row house, two soldiers of love remove their...