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I’m not gonna crack. I miss you.
I’m not gonna crack. I love you.
I’m not gonna crack. I killed you.
I’m not gonna crack.

— Kurt Cobain

Winner of the 2014 James Kirkwood Literary Prize

Trees and Other Things We Might See From the Parade Grounds
R.T. Jamison


He rang the other night. James Wasson. Dead nearly two decades and clear as a bell on the other end of the line. Asking how I’ve been. Hows Sheila? Still married to Sheila? Was in town and thought hed call, catch up. Found us in the book. Lot of people have unlisted numbers. But there we were, smack-dab between the Hembrakers and the Hendersheins. Had to be us. Such a long time.

That old sly voice stabbed me through the decades as I stood in my boxers, holding a cold memory to my ear, trying to breathe.

Then I got it. The boy. Had to be his boy. Little Jimmy. James Jr.


“You still go by Jimmy? Your old man always preferred to be called Jim. So hows your mom? God. Sorry to hear that. Sure, well be here. See you then.”

I regretted the offer as soon as I slurred it out. I was already a few whiskies into my evening, my defensive lineup in the shower. Not that she wouldnt have extended the same invitation or done me one better. Shes the candle in the window of this family. Me, on the other hand, no venturing from my Green Zone of compromisea Barcalounger with loyal drink in hand. I do my best to avoid old buddies and distant relatives and pricks from high school who only know me by a long-dead childhood nickname. Besides, what in the name of hell do we have in common anymore? Ive got about as much in common with the assholes on my TV.

Read the full story in the

Bellevue Literary Review
“Embattled: The Ramifications of War”

Vol. 15 No. 2 (Autumn 2015)

Bellevue Literary Review

Published by New York University,
the Bellevue Literary Review was founded in 2001.

Things We Might See From the Parade Grounds

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