Cain and Abel By Peter Sturtevant

There’s a family, as you might expect, with a mean, disapproving Dad.

And Eve loves kids, wanted more kids.

Were the two of you very close before this all happened?

ADAM: I would have to say closer than most couples.

CAIN: We had each other. We’d play and talk and stuff. I don’t even remember fighting at all. We make sure that one never has a larger portion than the other.

When you promise to stay together in sickness and in health, you do wonder, what if something happens, an accident, something disabling?

Is it ever hard to feel like you’re a separate person?

CAIN: I was always jealous of Abel because he was very naturally talented. He was very creative and read a lot and was very intellectually engaged from an early age. He really stood out on the farm because he was the only one like that.

EVE: If anything, he tiptoed around, worried that he’d mess things up as everybody set the table or cleaned the kitchen.

CAIN: We stumble on these land mines that really explode into conflict between us. It divides people.

What does God have to offer them?

ABEL: All of a sudden, something inside me just started welling up. And it was kind of like a joyful feeling, but really joyful. Something was – I don’t know – a kind of warm feeling.

CAIN: But you see that I’m struggling to accept that your way is a valid way that’s just different from my way. And I want you to feel like you also feel that my way is a valid way. It’s just different from your way. I know you don’t think that.

He just is not aware of other people’s feelings in any normal sort of way.

ADAM: You have to stop waiting around for Him to love you.

CAIN: Well doesn’t He love us? Doesn’t He love us enough to act differently?

ADAM: Our Dad will always be harsh, will never treat him like he cares.He can’t change Him and shouldn’t try.

CAIN: So then he was gone.

Yeah, well, he was about as big as me, too. But I whooped him.

I mean, very simply, I missed my brother. I realized I had a brother once, and I no longer do.

EVE: The three of us couldn’t make it a family unit again. We would never be the same as before.

CAIN: Well, what would heaven be like?

Because I have no concept of that.

I have tried to imagine that because when Abel died, I definitely tried to think about

Where is he?

And that’s probably the last time I thought about there maybe being a God.

 

Sources:

Audio: http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/166/nobodys-family-is-going-to-change

Transcript: http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/166/transcript

Peter Sturtevant is interested in old stories, particularly the ones that continue to be retold and evolve. A poet, songwriter, and short story writer in his free time, he is currently pursuing a Master’s of Liberal Arts at the University of Pennsylvania with a focus on religious literature and creative writing.

To Wives By Natasha Del Bianco

To Wives

Terrified and distracted
animals on a treadmill
we climbed, falling back
to solid ground: the final stage.

Screaming insanity (we rose out
of ignorance): we sensed,
dimly, that we
fully understood nature.

Wives
                       unthinking
                       callous
                       cruel
no love in such persons
convinced of their
heartlessness.

Surprise us with new-old-sweet-
selves. Dash the new structure
of affection.

Could we have been
so mistaken? They were
strangers, a great wall
had been built.

They did not love
(so blind). Their judgment
meant ruin to them.

 

Source Text: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services Inc., Alcoholics Anonymous Fourth Edition (New York: AA World Services Inc., 2001)

Natasha Del Bianco lives in Vancouver, British Columbia. She is a queer mother, a legal writer, a part-time poet, and a full-time dreamer. Her poetry has appeared in Thirdspace and Esoteric.

The Big Lie in a Small Place By Howie Good

1
Some of them disappeared.
Now, people don’t remember,

and sometimes I think they don’t
even understand where they are
and what the places are about.

How do we sleep when the planet is melting?

2
I think it must be
like a church.

If you want to pray
for the souls of all

the people who are
in the ground in this place,

then come. And
sometimes it works.

3
This is not the last time
you’ll be able to eat.
It just looks like that,
when you stay outside
and observe people.

4
I can’t be in this place.
The tourists are looking
at things like they are
from another world.
“Ah,” they say, “interesting.”
It means that Goebbels won.

 

Source: Assembled from “Sergei Loznitsa’s Movie ‘Austerlitz’ Observes Tourists in Concentration Camps,” New York Times, Aug. 31, 2016.

Howie Good, a journalism professor at the State University of New York at New Paltz, is the author of Dangerous Acts Starring Unstable Elements, winner of the 2015 Press Americana Prize for Poetry. He co-edits White Knuckle Press with Dale Wisely.

Strawberry Compositions By Meghan Barrett

The potential      a strawberry has
absorbed the best of our knowledge

We have seen effort     the walnut
extracting fresh roots from a fruited hull
reduced to black soil from a crown

the old tree wet combusts in a rain wash:
is it the acidity, dissolving the iron table
the inner            bark decanted in the green
oven-house, isolated from natural light

but the strawberry. How does it conduct itself
when the day dissolves; reduced leaves
one plant plays the lowest synths, examines
impaired garden, concludes an immobile future:
the toxic harvest in its lone weight

 

Source: S. Ercisli, A. Eistken, C. Turkkal, E. Orhan, 2005, “The allelopathic effects of juglone and walnut leaf extracts on yield, growth, chemical, and PNE compositions of strawberry cv. Fern.” Plant, Soil, and Environment 51: 283-287.

Meghan Barrett is currently a graduate student at Drexel University, working towards a PhD in Biology. Meghan hails from Rochester, NY and is greatly inspired by the ecology of the upstate NY area. Her writing has previously appeared or is forthcoming in Firefly, Gandy Dancer, Mind Murals, and The Trumpeter.You can find her on Twitter as @Abiogenesister.