Strangers

editor's note

Strangers by Alison Stedman
I’ve always been an introvert. I’m becoming more aware of it as I get older, I think, and particularly as I have more freedom to choose what kind of social rituals I will take part in. In the past, I was forced to deal with big groups of people all the time. It’s the curse of childhood – everyone seems to think they know what you need to do or be like to become a functioning adult, and you start believing it yourself, to some extent.
Halfway Down the Stairs seeks new Poetry Editor by the editorial staff
Halfway Down the Stairs is currently looking for a new poetry editor. Duties will include reading and voting on submissions, sending acceptances and diplomatic rejections, and also editing and formatting accepted poems for publication.

poetry

Moonstruck in Krogers by Sharon Lask Munson
end of day
strewn
with possibilities
The Absence of Light by Sarah T. Jewell
I sit across from him in silence,
thinking of my sister who could only sense light
or the absence of it, no colors or shapes.
A Sensitive Stranger by David Morgan OConnor
Perhaps the beautiful don’t feel this or the young.

fiction

Hjemmelandet by Anniken Davenport
On the first day of school, Sonya and I walked hand-in-hand through the big iron gate into the playground. I have a black and white picture of the two of us still. We're wearing matching dresses and big bows in our hair, standing under the flagpole with the Norwegian flag fluttering in the wind above us.
Purple Asteroid by Pam Parker
She avoids me now. A purple lock dangles in her eyes. Her one-eyed gaze challenges, do it. Go ahead, mother dearest. Just do it. Tell me to wipe it off my face and see what happens.
Free-Range by Emma Erickson
I wander the yard then to collect the eggs. That’s been the hardest part: not all the eggs are in the coop. But I spot them quicker now out of habit, and admire the roundness as the wicker basket fills. The last few seem uneasy on the edge, so I place them in my shirt pockets instead, smiling childishly at the irregular bulges that form at my chest.
Subway by Anna Phoenix
Early spring mornings, before the sun came up enough to warm the concrete and asphalt, were cold in New York, but Mia couldn’t tell, because she was always cold nowadays. She hunched down behind Peter, using him as both a shield against the weather and her guide through the crowds. Where she grabbed his jacket, her knuckles turned white against the redness of the rest of her hands. Like one unit, they made their way down the concrete steps of the subway.
Parade Day by Jackie Davis Martin
Amanda grips the steering wheel in wild anticipation; across the bridge she’ll be at Dell’s street, Dell will be at his door.  “You remembered!” he’ll say. “I’ll get my coat.”

nonfiction

New Canaan by Daisy Florin
We pulled up to the house in the station wagon Jordy had been given by his parents, the car of his childhood, dark blue with wood paneling on the sides. Jordy had guided this boat all the way from New Hampshire while I sat by his side, stretched out on the passenger seat, scanning stations on the radio. It was Thanksgiving weekend, and we were coming home from college. My father was on his way to Connecticut to pick me up and take me the rest of the way home to Manhattan.
Malawi Coke by Jane Salisbury
A woman came into view, walking around the clearing, coming closer. She was crying out, bleating rhythmically and high like a lamb, in a voice I can still hear in memory.  She wandered away and then closer again, then still closer. Past the men she came, and then stopped in front of me. She hadn’t been begging as she walked, only raising her wild cries and meandering towards us.
The Quarry by Matthew Werneburg
In my memory, we meet for the first time every year at the flooded quarry off  Route 53, in Bethel Connecticut, in the damp warmth of spring. We swim through the dog days’ heat waves. We swim in late August, when the maples flex and whine in the wind, when the susurrus of the overturned leaves shushes the subtle grumblings beyond the ridge, when beaded rain plinks across the water.  

reviews

Émigré, by Paul Grabbe with Alexandra Grabbe by Sherri Miller
Written by Paul Grabbe with daughter Alexandra Grabbe, the memoir Émigré entices the reader to travel back through time to witness the exhilarating ninety-five year-long life of Russian Count Paul Grabbe, born in 1902 in St. Petersburg, Russia.