John A. McDermott, a native of Madison, Wisconsin, teaches creative writing and American literature at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas, where he coordinates the BFA program in creative writing. His fiction, nonfiction, and poetry have appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review, Cream City Review, Southeast Review, and elsewhere.


Some day the teenagers in this cheery story are coming back in a novel or a series of linked stories. Until then, here they are in all their discontent. Fiddleblack has published some terrifying stuff (Clive Barker included). This story isn’t really horror, unless bored teens prone to violence and home foreclosures in California scare you (they do me). And skateboarding. There’s skateboarding in this one.

“The Cliff Walkers” “The Buddha of Newport” and “On Visiting Salve Regina University, Newport, Rhode Island”

A visit to a good friend in Rhode Island brought me this trio of poems. Prime Number is another of my favorite online journals and I’m proud these poems have such a good home. You can also find them in Prime Number Magazine Editors’ Selections anthology, Volume 3.

“The Hole in Orion’s Belt”

This story came to me in 2002 as I was driving between Milwaukee and Madison during my stint as a Ph.D. student at UW-Milwaukee. On dark nights I could see Orion’s Belt through my driver’s side window. My father had died the year before and looking at the constellation always made me think of him. I’m still not sure why, but I’m happy my grief came out this way.