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Winter 2009


The Curse of the Golden Carp by Elaine Chiew

"Lao Dai does mind. First, he rears Kikusui golden koi, and that only. His koi are sleek and symmetrical like jet-planes, fiery orange blended with silvery white, and no visitor to his house is spared a tour of his koi pond. No telling what mixing another species of carp in the pond will do, he thinks."

In the Palace of Cortés by Clifford Garstang

"It’s a bright, warm day in Cuernavaca, probably zero at home in Chicago. He’s wearing dark glasses. At the edge of the Plaza de Armas, just a hundred feet behind Alexis, is an enormous flowering tree, the likes of which Nick has never seen. It’s yellow. Too yellow. It doesn’t look real."

Photophobia by Mary Lynn Reed

"But once, about six months after Darlene came on, I called the sign man and priced a pink neon "D."  I told Darlene I'd do it too.  Name the place after her.  She laughed and called me a horny old woman.  Said lack of attention was making me queer and I needed to find a man, quit staring at her ass.  But that wasn't going to happen and we both knew it.  Love doesn't tell your heart why.  It just steps in and makes itself at home."

Tourist Photography by Bruce Holland Rogers

"We live in a destination city," said Donat, "a city that people come to see.  The weather is very fine.  I have the necessary equipment..."  I did not immediately know what the brown plastic cube in Donat's hands might be.  It had a round little red window in the center of one side, and a fraying black strap.  Only when he turned the cube did I see the tan knob, tan button, and the unmistakable lens. "

Molara Wood, The Per Contra Interview with Miriam N. Kotzin

"All my life I’ve kept journals, had the desire to write things down, held on to memories like jewels in a vault, and made sketches – mental and scattered scribblings – of books I might wish to write. Long gestation period, you could say."

Free Rice by Molara Wood

"He caved in. At the stall, the trader and I heaved the sack of rice onto the squatting man’s head. He staggered under the load. I feared for the rice. At 6,500 naira, it had not come cheap."

The Scarcity of Common Goods by Molara Wood

"Now Father was dead and Mother was giving him a funeral befitting his stature, as someone whose cement distribution business employed staff across three states. A man of timbre and calibre, as the king’s envoys praised him, when they offered him a chieftaincy title. Considering himself too young, and still flush with the egalitarianism of his student union days, Father declined the title, a gesture that further elevated him in people’s eyes. With his round glasses and pinched nose he reminded people of the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, the great ‘Awo’, Premier of Nigeria’s old Western Region. He would later shave off his goatee to encourage the comparison. Everything was taken care of for Father’s funeral, except this disturbance."










© 2005-2009 Per Contra: The International Journal of the Arts, Literature and Ideas