By Sarah Cottee

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He reaches for his notebook. Last night I was in the desert with mice who grew wings. What a wild ride. To be decoded later. He wakes when there’s no sunlight left, not even a hint, choosing to use only five out of the twenty-­‐four hours available. My life, my rules. He opens his wardrobe. His uniform resembles that of a magicians. But he’s a waiter, of sorts, at a chicken restaurant. The golden blade sits in a closed box on the table. Tonight, he counts to five before opening it. The longer he waits the better it feels. The sight sends shivers through his veins. Good shivers. The kind you can recall months later. The blade, it’s for the chickens in case you were wondering. He walks the longer way to the restaurant, the safer way, the way the crowds don’t walk, and arrives through the back.At the sight of the chickens, he smiles. Let’s begin.…

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Cover to Cover with . . . Nina Murray

By Jordan Blum & Nina Murray

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Nina Murray is a poet and a literary translator, as well as a U.S. diplomat.  She grew up in Ukraine and have degrees in linguistics and creative writing.  Her debut poetry book, Minimize Considered, was just published by Finishing Line Press and her individual work and translations can be found in a number of venues.

In this episode of Cover to Cover with . . ., Editor-in-Chief Jordan Blum speaks with Murray about her latest poetry collection, the ups and downs of being a professional translator, journal guidelines, and more (including a live reading of her poem “George Washington’s Rules of Civility”).

Nina Murray

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Paul’s Kids

By Justine Talbot

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His phone got up to six missed calls right before it died. All from Mom and none from Paul.

The whole time he had been sitting at McDonald’s dipping fries in his McFlurry it could have been charging. He didn’t want to wait now. He didn’t think he needed to. He just had to get back on the highway and drive in an hour-long straight line and then he’d see his brother. If he got a little lost it would be a relief.

But he didn’t get lost. He put his new shoe against the gas pedal of his old car, Paul’s old car, and barely moved it until the corn turned to trees. He should have taken it slower. The empty roads were just so tempting.

“Marty, ya made it!”

“I made it.” He got out of his car and allowed the bear to hug him.

“Aw shit, are those new shoes? They’re nice.”

“They were nice, yeah.”

“Sorry man, it’s always pretty muddy around here after it rains. It’s been raining a lot lately too. Has it been all gray and cold like this down at school?”

“Stupid. I’m stupid. I literally just bought these yesterday.”

“I can help you clean those up though, or else Darlene can—yeah, I think Darlene has a special cleaner she got on Amazon.”

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I’d Rather Trust

By Tejan Green

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The new moon came in with the stormy weather
and washed everything so clean, all that is left to do
is to cling to the brightness of a future
we’ve never seen.

And the past, pulling on hopeful
bodies like a puppet master reminding us who we have yet to
forgive, telling us to hold on when we should let go, keeping us
in fear of the unknown.

I reach for you in the dark and hope that you reciprocate.
I run until my feet are sore to warn you like Eve in the garden
wishing only to share with a partner, not to be blamed for eternity.
But you resist.

Tejan Green

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Three Songs

By Morgan Minsk

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Award-winning vocalist, performer, and composer Morgan Minsk taught herself piano in kindergarten and composed her first song at age 7. Soon after, she discovered her innate musical talent as a vocalist and multi-instrumentalist and later added saxophone, guitar, clarinet, bass, and percussion to her repertoire. At her high school graduation, she was awarded a full tuition scholarship to Berklee College of Music (where she received several awards, including the Voice Department’s Outstanding Performer Award). She left her hometown of Springfield, IL in 2011 and later graduated magna cum laude in 2015 with a B.A. in Music Therapy and a minor in Psychology.

Now a board-certified Music Therapist (MT-BC) and Certified Neurologic Music Therapist (NMT) by the Robert F. Unkefer Academy for Neurologic Music, Minsk’s work as a music therapist includes work with Ugandan child soldiers (Musicians for World Harmony). She also works with clients in children’s hospitals, medical centers, and health programs around Boston, Massachusetts.She is an accomplished singer-songwriter and has directed, participated in, and composed for numerous wind ensembles, choirs, musical theater productions, jazz, and benefit shows. Minsk feels strongly connected to God through her musical gift, as it has helped her conquer many obstacles and incredibly challenging times in her life.…

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