the rivers of it, abridged

New York City skyline at night


Spring 2010



Compromise, I Tell My Flock
by Richard Pearse

Garden of Eden, Andrea Mantegna,
from his larger altarpiece Madonna of Victory, 1496

As usual I got up before the alarm and went into the kitchen to make breakfast. I let Janice sleep.

When she woke and came in, she saw me, blinked, and said, "You're not my husband. He has a mole on his chin. And he always does the crossword before breakfast." She held up the entertainment page of the paper. "Here it is. Blank."

I said, "That's right, no mole and I don't do crosswords. But I am your husband. My name's Jim, remember? Jim Willig. And you're Janice."

"No! Not my name—I'm Marilyn DiSanto. Attorney at law. And my husband's Paul. And he doesn't make breakfast. You're an imposter. I'm calling the police."  Read Story


For Want of a Fish
by Sarah White

Perplexity by Sarah White

by Sarah White

There is no fête without regret, as the saying goes. Suppose the King is expected for dinner. Count M. has promised to serve him a filet of shad, but the delicacy doesn't arrive, and M.'s disgraced cook will lock himself in a pantry to…  Read Story





Northward into the Night
by Richard Thieme

Art by Duncan Long

Art by Duncan Long

Old men sometimes try to tell the truth. But no one listens.

No one listens because no one wants to know. People prefer to sleepwalk through life. They use the trance logic of a hypnotic subject, walk around chairs they insist are not there.

Old men's words fall to the ground like birds hitting windows. If you believe that not a swallow falls but someone measures and mourns, then please, keep on believing. Your beliefs strengthen the trance. That makes my work easier.

We hang back in doorways, look down the street, and wait. We have a story to tell if anyone wants to hear it. But no one comes, no one comes, and if someone happens to pass by, they don't even glance at an old man, his collar turned up against the wind, waiting it seems for someone. Anyone.  Read Story