Entries by Lisa Croce

Odessa

One of the mountains of belongings had seemingly collapsed into the negative space, leaving a sloping pile that scattered out several feet on either side. But amongst the avalanche of things, the hill of hard, solid, tangible objects, was something organic.[…]

À La Carte: Trodden

It was dawn when the R.U.F. came. Mama was braiding Hadiah’s hair and Papa was on his way with Hassan to sea to start fishing. We had heard stories about the rebels burning villages to the ground in one swift motion, killing all the elderly, cutting off people’s limbs, taking the young and turning them into soldiers. Every day, families who had been affected by the war would walk through our village telling those stories.

Culture Shock

My work is a reflection of my passions and creative inspirations. I am hugely influenced by urban music, culture, and the political issues and injustices that have been occurring in the United States of America. Being a mixed-race woman myself, I am constantly exploring and learning about the different cultures, races, and struggles that inhabit the population of the US.[…]

Beautiful Like Us

We’re fourteen years old, with pudgy cheeks, flowered Converse and crooked teeth. It’s the summer before freshman year, and we’re lounging on couches in my living room with our eyes narrowed at the TV screen. My best friend, Lindsey, sighs quietly and says[…]

Desire

Life is a journey from womb to tomb. During this journey, man is in constant search of the infinite with his finite possibilities. The material aspects of life, like desire, ambition, yearning for name and fame, pull him constantly down to the earth. Yet the search continues. Search for what?[…]

My Quest For Magnetism

I feel so adult sometimes. Like I’m nailing it. Kick ass, beautiful apartment in a seriously expensive, glamorous, desired city? Got it. Fully supporting myself while chasing my dreams of being a professional writer, and pursuing an education that is life changing? You already know.[…]

School Lunch: Time Zones

The day after he left the city, I fluttered awake feeling gloriously pretty. The night before had been so surreal, so bittersweet, that just thinking about it made me a little dizzy. And he was supposed to call soon. I looked down at my fingers, reminding myself that they had touched him just hours before, and realized that they were shaking.[…]

Trace of Nicotine

I think I know why his breaths are slower, shallower. The way he inhales before pushing his body off the couch, first a deep breath, and then how he holds it and propels himself forward in exhale, out onto the porch.

Purple Poodle Skirt

It means I have to willingly pull back the curtain and expose the ugly parts of me. The part that ugly cries in my car, the part that stokes my deepest darkest fears, the me I work hard not to let the world see. And maybe I just feel ugly in those moments, weak and bare revealing the parts I don’t want seen, because then I’d have to truly admit they’re mine. I’m supposed to turn a cheek to those hurtful moments, to prove how strong a woman I am in the face of pain.[…]

Looking Toward My Reflection

My words held up a mirror and exhibited the same qualities she’d always instilled in me, one last time. Two weeks later, she let go. She found that bravery I’d asked her to, our bravery. Her last lesson to me was how to love myself again […]

Issac Bailey, Author

I was first introduced to Issac Bailey at the Chicago Tribune Printers Row Lit Fest last June, where he spoke about his book My Brother Moochie: Regaining Dignity in the Face of Crime, Poverty, and Racism in the American South. My Brother Moochie is a powerful, personal exploration of race and racism and of the […]

Lessons in Language

In the middle of an IKEA showroom, I agonized over the transition between two sentences. I was wrestling with a second-grade assignment on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. While I knew any seven-year-old could cobble together two statements about Dr. King, bridging together two thoughts about his achievements with one seamless transition proved to be […]

A Compendium of Earthquakes

[creative nonfiction] The first one was in the egg shop. I was a baby, strapped to my mother’s back in a blue nylon carrier while she wandered Kotwali bazaar. Shelves of eggs, a single room with three walls and a pull-over aluminum door. All of the eggs broke. After the shaking stopped, the street dogs […]

When Light Is Put Away

Mr. Edwards calls me out tonight. He found another first-calf heifer in distress. The third one in as many years, bleeding and panting, eyes rolled back to whites under his flashlight. I sit on the porch steps putting on my mudders, cursing my stubborn joints, already knowing the likely outcome. Even so, I don’t dally. […]

Split

[fiction] When we were kids, Elliott and I could read each other’s minds. It wasn’t like it is in movies, where one twin thinks in complete sentences and the other receives a live stream to their brain. We didn’t need words. When I played catcher, I always knew exactly how Elliott would throw. When my […]

A Definition

mother 1. noun. presence, as in constant ex: “the mother is here.” see also: mama, mommy see the child cry out in fear, in loneliness see the presence quiet the child see presence beyond himself   2. verb. to rear, as in to create ex: she mothers and mothers and mothers until she is no […]

On the Importance of Young Adult Fiction

I only have five minutes to make my flight. I rush to the gate, slip into my cramped seat, still breathing hard from the mad dash to the gate. I pull out my journal to write. Writing settles my nerves. It’s my safe haven. It’s my security blanket. The well-meaning stranger next to me spots […]

Saturn’s Return

The February I am twenty-six, on the day before I’m supposed to fly to Portland to rent a house, I come down with the most brutal and short-lived flu I’ve ever had. My body aches so badly, I can’t move. When I say this, I don’t just mean that it hurts to move—I worry, when […]

Seven Confessions

1. My childhood ended when the dog arrived. *     *     * 2. It was late August. The stream of freedom inspired by the beginning of summer had mellowed to a trickle, and we stuck our tongues out in hopes to catch a drop. My younger sisters and I would wallow in the shallow end of […]