Postcard proseIssue 03 | February 2009


by Janice D. Soderling

I thrill to the sight of docked freighters, their decks filled with timber or containers, ready to lift anchor and glide out to the open seas. I love waiting in run-down bus stations, watching as people meet and embrace, part with tears.

As a kid, I lay listening to the mournful whistle of freight trains hauling through the night. When I get big, I would tell the darkness, I’ll hop an old boxcar. I wanted to be a tramp, a wanderer, a rover with a stick on my shoulder and, tied to the end of it, a red kerchief with a pair of clean panties, a couple of books and some food. I had never seen a body of water bigger than Johnson’s pond, but like an old seadog stranded ashore, I muttered with Masefield,  I must down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky.

One Christmas I got a pink plastic purse and a lockable, tin globe-bank, with a coin slot that sliced across Canada.  I would sooner have died than priss around with a pink purse, and I quickly lost the bank key, but I memorized the name of every thread-thin river, every dot that was a South Sea island.

Now, in a rattletrap, half-empty lkarbus, pulling out of Agadir, I close my book and still my hunger with dates and cheese, a bottle of water. A young father across the aisle holds his son close, caresses the boy’s brow and cheeks. The man points out the window into the flat Moroccan landscape, naming things: goat, donkey, house, palm tree, flamingo, camel. The child repeats each word after the father, and they laugh softly. Something like a freight train hauls along the tracks of my heart.

Read our current issue:


Two poems by Anne Babson
Vignette, Townhouse, 9 a.m. by Troy Cunio
Night Becomes Day Over the West by Megan Foley
Yukon River Aurora by D. B. Goman
Two Poems by David Havird
Cretan Love Letter by Emily Linstrom
Holland by Rick Mullin
Fear in Kenya by Kristina Pfleegor
The Lounge Lizard by Ed Shacklee
Two Poems by Sarah J. Sloat
Night Flight by Vicki Stannard
Koinonia Farms by Alina Stefanescu
Thessaloniki, Four a.m. by Anastasia Vassos
Imaginary Oceans by Jason Warren
Two Poems by F. J. Williams

Postcard prose

It’s Salty by Kelly Hill

Travel notes

Anchorage in the Great Land by Karen Benning
The Value of Small Money by Megan Hallinan
Screensaver by Sandra Larson
Thirty Cents by Tommy McAree
Gokarna by Kate McCahill
Going Places by Rachel Miller-Howard
Susanville CA: Notes From The Road by Susan Volchok