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216 East Boalt
by Jeannie Vanasco

art by Robinson Accola
art by Robinson Accola
I used to live in a white-sided saltbox house, the kind children draw in crayon, with the triangle roof on top of the tall, rectangular bottom. Years ago my maternal grandmother, a wide diabetic Lutheran I never met, had some men cut the house in half like a peanut butter sandwich and move each slice across town after her son Eugene was hit by a train.

My life began in this house and there was always a feeling that something was off, someone or something was missing. Maybe it had to do with Eugene, or maybe it had to do with the crookedness, how when the men put the house back together, they never put it together straight.

When I was a girl I drew my house split apart and then the people split apart, half of them walking around searching for their other halves. Half of my grandmother (the only half I drew) reached for the whole of Eugene trapped between the house. Half of my mother reached for herself and the other half, Eugene. Half of me reached for my father, but half of him was opening an empty mailbox while the other half peered down from behind his bedroom window. The other half of me tried to pull our house together.

This drawing still hangs crooked in my house.

All content in SmokeLong Quarterly copyright 2003-2014 by its authors.



Jeannie Vanasco is a reviewer for The Times Literary Supplement. She was recently named a finalist for a Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowship by The Poetry Foundation. Her poems have been awarded The Academy of American Poets College Prize, among other awards.

Robinson Accola creates artwork for SmokeLong Quarterly as needed.
Issue Twenty-Three (December 15, 2008): Ants by David Aichenbaum «» Earthrise by Christopher Bundy «» The World Before This One by Jon Chopan «» Ghost Bike by Thomas Cooper «» The Sway of Trains by Lydia Copeland «» Impressionists by Debra A. Daniel «» Danseuses Nues by David Harris Ebenbach «» The Head Fields by Terry Ehret «» Shadows by Sherrie Flick «» Heroin Girl by Larry Fondation «» She Doesn't Ask Where He Goes by Stefanie Freele «» Caved In by Barry Graham «» Chicago World's Fair, 1893 by Kyle Hemmings «» Coat and Shoes by Tania Hershman «» Thirteen by Tai Dong Huai «» Phoenix by W.P. Kinsella «» Nearly Free by Dorianne Laux «» Alien Lunch by Liane LeMaster «» The Society for the Preservation of Everything by Kuzhali Manickavel «» 216 East Boalt by Jeannie Vanasco «» Potatoes by Spencer Wise «» Interviews: David Aichenbaum «» Christopher Bundy «» Jon Chopan «» Thomas Cooper «» Lydia Copeland «» Debra A. Daniel «» David Harris Ebenbach «» Terry Ehret «» Sherrie Flick «» Larry Fondation «» Stefanie Freele «» Barry Graham «» Kyle Hemmings «» Tania Hershman «» Tai Dong Huai «» Dorianne Laux «» Liane LeMaster «» Kuzhali Manickavel «» Spencer Wise «» Cover Art "morpheus" by Marty D. Ison «» Letter From the Editor

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