Issue Three

Front Matter


This issue was barely published in 2012. It’s been a momentous year. A year in which I married my wonderful wife, relocated to Arkansas, where we bought our first house, and started a new job. 2012 was packed. Life changes filled the months and Scintilla (and my own writing) languished. That will change in 2013,… Read more »


My Lost One

“Surprised to see me again?” Kim says. I hesitate at the door. Paper wasps had built a nest in the corner of the brick underpass leading to my ground floor apartment in Levittown. Anyone standing at the door stirs them up, so I part my threshold and invite her to follow. Kim slips into the… Read more »

Tandy’s Tournament

After years of working in the dime store, Mother bought a honky-tonk tavern.  She rented a room upstairs to one of her customers and then she married him.  Alton Grainger, Mother’s fifth husband, was just Mother’s height and the age of my oldest sister.  He was from North Carolina.  He’d boxed in the army, said… Read more »


“The Garden Sure Got Bigger over the Winter”

That’s what my neighbor a mile down the road where I walk our dog always says the first time I see him out in the early April air. He stands there, bent into the wind, his smile wry, eyes agate blue clear. “Mine too,” I always say though all I grow are patches of flowers… Read more »


In the night, you say all you can see are the Romany woman’s withered brown fingertips tracing your lifeline, so you distract yourself by telling me about János Marschalkó, the sculptor of the Chain Bridge lions––how the hinges of his fingers cradled the chisel, which day after day he sank into marble, one thick metal… Read more »

Dead Reckoning

On a clear day, lookouts aloft could see farther than those on deck. This had nothing to do with heightened visual acuity. Ascent does not sharpen the eye. Sailing from the sight of land, Jason would have seen the beach disappear before the distant mountain peak. Navigators clever enough to read a compass and devise… Read more »


Through it all I call myself the Wise Son, though I notice no one else does. I know death is unknowable—silent, nondescript as the crypt we’ll slip my mother in. I know that crypt, helped the concrete shape itself into the mausoleum it wanted to become. I listened to Carlos sing his Spanish love songs…. Read more »


Plucking reedy notes around the pond, the bullfrogs sound the song of evening, calling back the afternoon from the cattails’ close warm breath above the cool that now makes room for dark to seep between the leaves among the stalks into the night.


It is the sinew strung between rising and falling that yields flight; the interplay of muscle, feather, air that holds the fan-tailed hawk still in the breeze. Even the strongest wings rely on the same nothingness for lift and pull, as we, who trust the tension between breaths to keep us safely tethered hovering, rejoicing… Read more »


A frequenter of our late streets, This object of scoffing and jeers; When shunned by streams of passers-by, He’d speak to stray dogs and pigeons And stab his fingers at the sky; A sad sight, a nasty bother; A sight-seer of our squalid ways – Sign of sad times, said another; So he was last… Read more »

The Shingles

When he needed a new roof, he kept the old shingles piled beside his house. If you rolled one in your hand, it would crumble, the dust lifting into the acceptance of the air. He refused to haul them away, believed ghosts hid their stories there. Some nights, when the moon sends only a sliver… Read more »


One lies down in the roadside shade, To rest his head on a stone there; As lark-song scents the summer night, He sleeping sees the spiral flight Of their drops and their scaling wings; Another turns the final blade, Leaves his book with the fallen figs; Leaves the shade of this canopy, This cover of… Read more »


Tea Bags from Shaw’s

The habit started in Maine, the tea drinking, I mean. Massachusetts, where I live mostly, is more of a coffee kind of place – busy lives, kids, jobs. But on a wintry Saturday afternoon in Owls Head, when I’m alone in the house and writing, or supposed to be writing, the act of sitting with… Read more »