Issue Ten – May 2023

Issue Ten – May 2023

Letter from the Founding Editor:

This issue is a milestone. It’s our tenth one! It’s interesting to think about what that means, and as I try to assign value to an otherwise arbitrary mark, I find my brain wants to turn away from words and toward numbers. So, you math-oriented writers and artists, consider this: In 10 issues, Rockvale Review has published 286 poems, 149 pieces of art, 20 musical selections, 8 creative nonfiction pieces, and 12 short stories. Add to those numbers the total number of human beings that contributed to this journal: 291. I like it!

I think it’s significant that a small online journal can share art and words with a larger world and feel as though some small act of goodness has been accomplished. Something worthwhile has bloomed itself into a tiny space, then burst outward spreading seeds. I think that’s what creativity tends to do. It can’t be contained in its original place. What is alive seeks and finds other avenues of life to commune with. When I read a poem that moves me, I tend to share it with someone else. Same with art. And so it goes, this energy, this light, into new spaces, new minds, building and growing and living beyond its origin.

When I look at this issue, I’m excited to think where its energy will go next. Consider, for instance, LeeAnn Olivier’s two poems, “Hepatic Coma” and “The Girl Without Hands” which delve into her experience with receiving an emergency liver transplant. Or Anna Guntlisbergen’s wrenching poem, “A Prayer for Moms on the Edge of Something,” especially in the context of recent tragic events. Take Dennis Kaplan’s short story, “The First Short Story Ever Written by a Computer,” a story that was not, in actuality, written by a computer, and see if you’re not drawn to think about AI articles that keep popping up everywhere. These pieces of writing speak to the reality of what connects us: our humanity. Then again, they also speak to what is unique and individual about us: our imaginations.

Another contributor to this issue, Featured Artist, Gwyn Jones, excites me as well. At just 14 years of age, Gwyn holds a maturity and imaginative creativity far beyond her years. Her specific type of art, fan art, created digitally, delves into the inner life of a normal American teenager, but I’m guessing viewers will discover something beyond the ordinary in these pieces. They are detailed and dramatic, tender and tense, and they speak to the angst and urgency to place meaning upon a life, to understand what at any age is sometimes beyond understanding: the need to be seen, to be known, to create, to share, to exist.

I think that’s what we’re all striving for, whether with our words or visual art. That’s why we create, why we take the risk to offer a glimpse of our true selves to a world that often values conformity more than individuality. But here, in this tiny journal, we get to be “us.” That’s why Issue Ten and all the other issues make me smile. There’s a whole lot of “you,” and “me,” and “us.” I think it’s beautiful.

Thank you to Roseann, Rhonda, and Elizabeth – the finest co-editors who read each piece of writing with both kindness and acute editing skill. I’m grateful to you!

Thank you, Contributors, for sharing your words and art with us, for trusting us to give your work a little breath, a little push into the wide world. It’s an honor and we appreciate you very much.

Sandy Coomer

Founding Editor, Rockvale Review


Orchard – by Matthew J. Andrews

I Haven’t Seen the Moon in Days – by Ace Boggess

Butterfly Weed – by Beth Boylan

Cataracts – by Beth Boylan

Rough Glow of Late Rembrandt – by Linda Bryant

Wish Fulfillment – by Barry Casey

Autumn Joy – by Jesse Curran

Immigration – by Ana Doina

A Prayer for Moms on the Edge of Something – by Anna M. Guntlisbergen

The Dark House – by Michael Hettich

Eventide – by Jenevieve Carlyn Hughes

Fathers and Sons – by Joseph Kleponis

Remote Teams – by Jeanne Blum Lesinski

Shadow – by Mary Makofske

Praying with Mark Twain – by Maria Masington

I Wanted Your Heart Back – by Chris Menezes

Have You Been Injured? – by Meghan Miraglia

Children Crossing – by Cecil Morris

Hepatic Coma – by LeeAnn Olivier

The Girl Without Hands – by LeeAnn Olivier

The Tunnel – by Marc Pietrzykowski

Amnesia – by Sarath Reddy

Your Old Bird Lives – by Steven Riel

Bloom – by Jean Ryan

Tilt – by Lillo Way

Conjunction: 1997 – by Bonnie Wehle

Short Fiction:

Our Dog Days Have Only Just Begun – by Michael Chouinard

The Fixer – by Frank Diamond

The First Short Story Ever Written by a Computer – by Dennis Kaplan

Eau Sauvage – by Jay Kiiha

The Memories of Cherished Friends – by Leslie Peterson

The Cathedralis – by LE Sullivan

Creative Nonfiction:

Snow Shoe, Pennsylvania – by David Blackmore

In the Pink – by John Foley

Featured Artist: Gwyn Jones

Click HERE to view Gwyn’s art and read the Artist’s Statement