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A Public Space

No. 20

"Missing is a strange feeling. It doesn’t have to mean you are wishing to be in the place you are missing."—Linda Schenck translates Kerstin Ekman; Marilyn Hacker translates Jean-Paul de Dadelsen; Ander Monson on marginalia; Helen Oyeyemi goes blonde; Nigel Peake listens to the sounds of a city; plus new fiction by Colin Barrett, Eric Bennett, Jonathan Lee, Sara Majka, and Per Petterson; and poems by Kimberly Grey, F. T. Marinetti, Lynn Melnick, and others.

Table of Contents



The Last String

There were so many staring faces out there. Women are the worst, she thought. Why is that so? What did we do wrong? But she knew.

Kerstin Ekman



High Dive

It seemed the kind of day when nothing serious could happen, the weather storybook pure. The kind of day when a man of Mason’s age might fall into an excitingly pointless affair, or combine a number of interesting flavors of ice cream on a single delicate cone.

Jonathan Lee



Being a Blonde

For my part I was always a little disturbed by him because I’d never heard him tell a lie. That was horrifying to me, like living in a house with every door and window wide open all day long.

Helen Oyeyemi



Stand Your Skin

The teachers thought him thick—and Bat was thick—but it was only when some of the other kids dubbed him Book Sniffer on account of how close he put his face to the page that he realized something was up.

Colin Barrett



A Man Without Shoes

No one in the kitchen really knew what “social aspirations” meant, it had to be a new expression, but Uncle Rolf had read a few books and thought he was damn clever.

Per Petterson



Exercise for the Evening

Stop. Instead of panting and gasping from second to second / Like a torrent hurtling from rock to rock with no special merit

Jean-Paul de Dadelsen



Two Poems

Consider this canvas of central valley splendor

Lynn Melnick



Two Poems

The ocean is a great thinker

Allan Peterson



Two Poems

There are a million griefs flying out there the president says

Kimberly Grey



Regular Organ Transplants Will Make You Live Forever

I’m scrubbing my face with a peach pit.

John Deming



Four Problems

His latest project is a long poem comprised of several thousand similes without subjects. Like golf.

Noah Eli Gordon



Summer Luncheon for Painters and Sculptors

After a long period of repose, a painter or sculptor who wishes to resume his creative activities at three on a summer afternoon will try in vain to excite inspiration with a traditional, succulent lunch.

F. T. Marinetti



Each Day I Get Up

I think I’m kind of Morrissey / don’t you

Eileen Myles




When she left he watched her walking in the thick air, her white blouse lit by the moon, like she was a spectral thing moving away from him. But what good is there in keeping the things you don’t want, simply because they are something?

Sara Majka



In the City

The street has a certain length and the pavement a particular depth.

Nigel Peake



What’s Left of What’s Left

He says it destroys what it imitates by imitating it. Lonnie says a lot of things I don’t understand. But I know he wouldn’t want me riding in your car. I don’t ride in cars. Where’s your car?

Eric Bennett




There is something vaguely troubling to her about men: their energies never seem contiguous.

Arna Bontemps Hemenway



Dear Defacer

In truth I too defaced—books, surely, furiously, variously, before I understood their worth; but also: walls, homes, computer systems, aboveground pools, school buses, schools, school desks and lockers, bathroom stalls, urinals, garage doors, a bus station, car glass, cars, glass block windows, wineglasses at parties, Mr. Millenbach’s shed.

Ander Monson

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