• Hudson Saffell

"Deluge"


“To look at the river now,” I said.

“Makes me forget it was a dry river bottom…. We used to run circles in.”

Brett and I stood on the rusted-over Union Pacific truss overlooking the Ventura River, now flooded from El Niño’s deluge. We were getting drenched, hoodies over our heads, facing the Pacific Ocean and watching the waves rise higher than we’d ever seen. We passed a joint between us, trying to keep it together and dry. The waves broke down on the tide thunderous, booming like something sonic, each wave’s back-spray camouflaging the next one growing.

“We should be out there,” Brett said.

“Dad would be,” I said. “Imagine the stuff that’s in that water, from all the way in Casitas, brought out there from the river.”

“He would.”

Brett stripped off his hoodie—“Yeah, good idea”—and the rain hit us on our bare shoulders, parted our long and unkempt hair, and the smoke, when we let it go, hung against the sheets of rain coming down all around us.

“I think we can do it.”

“Man,” I said. “If we do it, we should have fins. We should have a lot of things.”

I laughed.

“Nah, too hard to surf with a finbelt. I’ve tried. Rather take my chances of not wiping out.”

“Like in Teahupo'o.”

“Yeah.” Brett laughed. “Like you in Teahupo'o.”

* * * * *

I was in my kitchen rolling a joint with fingers shaky from not having eaten. The week-long rain had finally lessened but the storm far from over. In the news, El Niño seemed to have retreated, but only to regain its full strength—it was coming back to flood us more. Well inside my apartment, my chafed elbows propped against the woodgrain Formica countertop worn white long before I existed, I mistakenly ripped a creased leaf of Arabic gummed paper, my set jaw off-kilter, when the phone rang once, twice, three times, again I thought—four. Brett buzzed on the other end of it, saying, “El Niño’s a gift from God, Boonie. Anyhow. What? Screw what the Weather Channel said. I’m amped. You too, right?”

So I decided to agree with him with all my heart—the same heart my girlfriend, Maggie, thought she’d tucked away for safekeeping. And here it was, 1997, a nasty El Niño upon us—on our own claustrophobic generation X, Y, or Z, they weren’t sure, and so were we, unsure. I heard noises from Maggie opening and shutting drawers and the medicine cabinet down the hall from me. Brett muffled the phone, but not well enough, and said, “Just pack what we need, that’s it.”

He was talking to Natalia, his girlfriend, who fired back, “Okay. Ass!”

We were all going surfing.

Brett went on blaring, “It’s not like we’re going hiking in the Sespe,” to which Natalia countered, “Okay-ass!”

An hour went. I breathed out the cakey patio screen where the glass door was cracked open and saw Brett’s topaz pickup truck race into the parking lot of Buenaventura Studios, my apartment conglomerate. I shouldered into a flannel shirt, left it open, and stepped outside. My eyes tightened under the overcast morning that rumbled from high but was supposed to hold until night. The air was warmer, without the smell of rain… we had plenty of time.

Two tailfins overbit the tailgate of Brett’s pickup truck. The warmed asphalt tickled the rubber of his sagging tires, sounding off like the mini racing pigs at the Ventura County Fair every year. I watched Natalia in the cab of the truck, faced forward and hidden by a pair of Foster Grant shades. Before Brett had even braked, she moved at the passenger door and hopped out.

“Hey, Boone,” Natalia hollered and waved, whirling to the tailgate. She yanked her shortboard out from the bed as if, what—as if it weighed nothing at all. She brought it to where I stood in the fresh-cut grass, where dark green clumps cooled the bare soles of my feet. She laid it down, stripped the grungy wax. I swept my hair out of my face and called her Nat because it created a kind of funny fury in her. And when I did she swung her board around and nearly clocked me.

“We need to get some fresh wax on these boards, quick,” Brett barked out the left-open door. “They’ve already been stripped,” he lied, his adrenaline going.

He leapt out of the cab, maneuvering his stickered-up board from the bed, and pressed it into the grass next to Nat’s. He sling-shotted back into the cab, frisbeeing Slayer into the dash-mounted aftermarket CD player he’d recently got in exchange for a quarter ganja.

Nat tore shrinkwrap from a fresh bar of Mr. Zog’s Quick Humps Sex Wax.

“Mine and Maggie’s boards,” I bugged Nat, “you know… they’re already ready to go.”

“Well, aren’t you just a Daniel Boone, Boone—all prepared,” Nat said, balling up the plastic wrapper and thumbing it into her front jean-shorts pocket. She looked back at Slayer, sneered, and sighed sharply.

I grinned and glanced down at my Freestyle Shark wristwatch, rechecked it. I looked to see if anyone was staring at me staring at the face of my watch that signaled quarter to eleven.

Brett looked at me—beyond me. I turned and saw Maggie coming out of my apartment wearing less than I’d expected. I followed Brett’s eyes, but Brett was my best friend. I looked back at Maggie wearing the smile she’d learned in Teahupo'o, where the four of us had gone on a surf trip last summer.

Last night I’d watched the news on KTLA while sitting on the floor waxing Maggie’s board. She’d sat cross-legged on the couch, her eyes closed, a real “yogi,” with earphones tentacling from her Walkman. Brett sat next to her, flicking his Zippo and stealing glances. I’d watched their reflection in the screen whenever there was a cut to commercials, and I could see through them both.

Now it was nearing winter. I’d watched the once dry riverbed fill with rain overflowing, racing beneath the 101 Freeway overpass, waterfalling the estuary before pounding out into the Pacific, carrying with it everything that could not resist its force. Inland, homes were flooded. Families paddled kayaks and canoes to reach rockier, more stable ground. People stood on rooftops and on top of vehicles, even climbed trees to stay head-above-water.

Near the coast, in La Conchita, a handful of miles just south of Goleta, where Brett and Nat lived, entire homes had been exploded by bus-size mudslides, and several deaths reported. Houses crashed into one another. Families converged. But the deluge had also created, on several Southern California surf points, high, curling waves, vaguely familiar to us—the waves in Teahupo'o where all of us had got to know the thrill of big surf. It’d burrowed into our skin. For me, there were still tiny slivers of coral embedded in the heels of my hands and feet, my body having been hammered on an underwater outer reef. It kept me beached the rest of the day. Even in the heat, I’d shook like a cat in the rain.

It was winter here, but it was impossible to tell. El Niño took care of extending the warmth, however coldhearted the environment had become. The currents shook things up weirdly. Dorado and yellowfin tuna were being landed as far north as Santa Barbara, and tuna were hauled-in in San Diego without any empathy from the fishermen—never caring about why the tuna were in abundance off-season or how it would affect their migrations thereafter—who were just catching and catching them.

Things that didn’t belong in the sea buoyed up like ruins.

We took Brett’s truck to Pierpont, to the curb of Greenock Lane, Marina Harbor, just a few jetties away, where, from the highway, on the other end of the harbor, we watched the pilings of the pier get battered. Brett braked jerkily and downshifted into park all at once. We climbed out, a radiating buzz in my stomach.

Down the coastline, entire sides of cliffs had sloughed off from the storm. They were scalloped and slick now, with tree roots sticking out like bones, muscles, and ligaments. Homes had been cleared. Cliff-dwellers gone—who knows where. I watched the waves break in the eight-to-ten-foot range. They swelled high and barreled long before they broke.

Maggie got my attention.

“Look, Boone.”

Yards from us, a fatty gray carcass laid sideways in the sand. Around it, black blotches of horseflies congregated. We smelled its decay, heard the cry of gulls.

I watched Maggie curl a piece of her wavy, short-cropped hair behind her ear adorned with little hoops and studs. I saw the freckles on the wide bridge of her nose disappear into the crinkles her scrunched-up face made. I still found her attractive, even though we’d been together for almost two years. I remembered something I’d seen on TV.

“Dead seal,” I said. “In San Diego, a whole beach got covered in tuna crabs washed up onshore the other morning.”

“Did they die?”

“They were already dead.”

I zipped up my shorty-style O’Neill wetsuit, the kind we all wore, though the water was slick, salted, and warm—warm enough to skip the suit. Perhaps, then, it was something we didn’t do to stay warm, but to instead protect ourselves from the runoff stuff in the clouds of churning ocean before us.

More and more, as we stepped across the beach, we felt the damp sand cling to our bare feet. We balanced across driftwood and seaweed-composed berms raked inshore by storm-driven tides. Black and orange over-stapled information boards in English and Spanish were newly staked in the ground, close to a shuttered-up pale blue lifeguard tower. Our feet found the diluted sand, where pieces of broken crab shells dulled the smoothness the ebb and flow created.

I reached for the Velcro cuff of my rubber leash. Over months I’d let the cord bake in the sun and dry-rot—procrastinated about buying a fresh one. “Hell,” I said, securing the cuff around my ankle and slapping it. “I better not eat it out there.”

We all lay flat on our boards, dipped our arms in the surf, and ducked beneath the near shorebreak, tasting the brackish water from the incoming river flooding the estuary beneath the overpass. It was noon and the light turned darker, then light again, then darker. Then only dark. The temperature of the water was warm, the air peppery like the smell of freshly overturned soil. The water was clouded from inland runoff, with debris mixed in: Uprooted inland brush, aluminum gutters, pieces of siding from homes, Styrofoam, backyard toys… things that had no place in the ocean—far more than the usual empty bottles, sandwich papers, cardboard boxes, and cigarette ends.

None of us had expected to see anything alive washed out to see from inland. Sure, animals had been carried downriver and drowned, usually before they made it to the estuary, or they were beached like the dead tuna crabs and that seal. But here, joining us in the sea, was (it couldn’t be) a rattlesnake, which contended to survive further, floating on a barge of tangled tree branches, and after we experienced the initial fright… the stuttering shock of it—bobbing by, staring back at us, as if this was all just as paralyzing to him, too… the awesomeness struck. We just couldn’t believe it was here.

Brett signaled the girls, “Keep paddling! Watch out for this freakshow!”—as if they weren’t seeing what we were exactly… as if they couldn’t recognize a rattlesnake when they saw one (as any Ventura County native son or daughter could). And sure, I was scared, but also, I mean, I felt a little sorry for him. For what was to become of a rattlesnake in the ocean. Nothing good. A pitiful end was in the cards turned over for him.

Maggie ignored Brett, paddling closer. She puckered up her lips at the snake as if to kiss it, as if to tempt it. Its tail never maraca’d. Nat looked at me, puzzled lines on her forehead, which was the way I felt I looked, too. Maggie paddled by, her face all bright as if she’d done something, what—something righteous, maybe.

“Now I’ve seen everything,” Brett said, paddling forward, toward the swell, and towards Maggie.

Nat and I straddled our boards, side-by-side. We watched the miraculous craft and its lonesome crewmember become smaller and smaller, more and more hidden by the maze of whitecaps. It bopped up and down for some time, its scaled body in a loose coil, its flat head weaving side to side, softly, diminishing. Finally, it was gone altogether.

“I suppose they can’t swim,” I said.

“He didn’t look too eager to.”

“Geesh. What a wild ride he took.”

Nat spit some water back into the sea and commanded, “Hey. Let’s catch some waves.”

And for many hours, that’s all we thought of.

Saltwater and mucus cycled through my nose and throat like a bilge pump; my board and body rose like an uppercut, dropped like an ax-kick, then glided. Rising with the undulation, I paddled, reaching and reaching for the position where I felt the swell growing beneath me. I muscled upright and planted my feet against my board.

In it now, stable, the wave took me and I was going all the way with it. I watched Nat paddle down into my wave, just behind where it began to break over top of me. I cut back, allowing its force to catch up to my own. Upright on the path, my board carved, my fingers against the glass, I felt Nat slide by me. I was a goofy foot and she a regular. Her tail brushed my front. My fingers drew patterns in the wall, riding the barrel. I looked at the glass—a palace archway of inland junk whose time had come and had gone. I cut across, or sometimes up the lip, and back down inside until the wave was finished, and barely plodding along. Nat flung her head up, her very long hair back with it, her tanned face smiling ear to ear. I looked at the darkening sky and capsized lazily, the tide ever rising. I paddled one-arm then and turned the nose of my board toward shore, my eyes adjusted to the spooling of warm wind. I squinted.

“You got to be kidding,” I said to myself.

At the extreme south side of the beach, next to the jetty, I recognized Maggie’s older brother, Mark, setting up some kind of retro tripod. He was easy to spot because of his blond dreadlocks and would come to the beach when he knew Maggie was surfing. His body moved like a sandpiper, all while he set up his vintage gear. He was a “photojournalist” for a local art zine or something. Maggie and Mark’s family afforded anything without even noticing—old money grown from strawberry fields.

But what made me itch more than wetsuit rash wasn’t that Mark was rich and probably bumping cocaine for breakfast—it was that he was phony. Who goes and takes videos of surfing from the shore anyway? He didn’t even have a long-range lens or anything like that. I’d never once seen him in the water. If he’d been in the water maybe he could’ve captured that waterborne rattlesnake. That was art. Not the nothing of a safe shore taunting reckless waves.

I paddled up beside Nat and hollered, “Nice ride.”

She thumbs-upped me and laughed, probably still high off the ride.

We spit out water, breathed in the weather and rejoined Brett behind the swell. He sat on his board, palming water.

“Mark’s on the beach—where else,” I yelled.

They all turned and waved. Mark waved back. Maggie paddled in and skittered off to her brother.

Hours went. I hit the surf harder than before, wave after wave. Most of my rides were more than a surf rat could ever dream up, not to mention luck with following through in the barrel.

I had a few wipeouts, but nothing I couldn’t handle—until late afternoon. It was just another wave to paddle in to. I popped up on my board and my ankle seized like a thrown piston-rod. My body, alone in the clutch of the power of the wave now, launched me sideways. My board shot up into the air and I went opposite, sucked into the water. The wave took me down and snapped my leash (Jesus, I thought) and I knew the spill would be far more punishing than the one in Teahupo'o. I was a football field’s length offshore where it was deep enough for a fleet of ships to anchor; where, if you’re thrust down enough, far as a seabed allows, more than eight fathoms as I was, more or less, disorientation gleans into a far more hallucinatory experience.

I remembered my father, who was a really good spear-fisherman in his day, who always told me that if this kind of thing happens, that if you’ve gone under too far to know which way is up, to “just follow the bubbles.” But the fucking bubbles were going every which way. They’d surrounded me—wanted to kill me. Where was Pop, I thought. Back in Seychelles selling phony PADI dive licenses again was my close guess.

I thudded against the seafloor. Mud and sand lapped at me. It went dark and pellets of sand scoured my skin like pumice. I was in a writhing chamber of the sea. In this instance of blind, watery convulsion, I thought I saw a slender shadow whipping toward a faint glint, like a star coming into view on a gray evening. I was starting to see what I wanted to see before the deflation of oxygen in my lungs reminded me to survive. I chose a direction for my final swim, I imagined, toward the wig-wagging shadow, toward some dull light I’d seen, and frogged my way there. My lungs burned and water leaked into my windpipe. I surfaced with a tattoo gun in my chest, coughed and vomited. I opened my eyes and saw the mangled light of afternoon, and then Brett—the silhouette of his downward stare. His hands leveled me upright. I floated on my back, hacking to breathe like a newborn, and my eyes welled.

“You must’ve thought you were down there forever,” Brett said, laughing.

I brought my chin to my chest. Nat straddled her board and held ours. She looked into the water differently. I slapped my head back against the top-water, flopped over, and treaded. I saw Maggie—who’d missed everything—with Mark, neither of them watching the waves, just sitting on towels draped on the algae-topped rocks of the jetty, looking at each other, pushing hair from their faces. Smoke plumed above their heads and somehow I heard their laughter boom.

Above us, clouds of lead closed in and made everywhere look like dusk.

We caught our final waves and rode them in. The tide rose high. Nat was outpacing Brett. I watched the shorebreak slap against the backs of their legs. They stepped from slush to firmer sand and were tearing at each other with their voices. I heard the pitches and recognized Brett’s, but not Nat’s.

I paddled sidelong before turning my nose shoreward, the ocean still. It was suddenly listless and then rose in thunderous fair warning of the deep sea swell and the heaving sets of waves incoming. I fought at the flicking shorebreak, choppy and swirling in agitation, moving in my head. I left my board in the foam, let it slip out from my arm and staggered; after all, I had only fifteen minutes earlier nearly drowned for a second time. I walked to where Maggie and Mark sat posed on the rocks of the jetty, where Maggie and I had once gone spelunking before, and more.

I passed Mark’s idle camera, Maggie’s head thrown back mid-laugh, and Mark, that asshole, sat opposite her, his dreadlocks moving like wind-chimes—a dumb grin above a weak chin. I can’t remember before or again being so sick of seeing anyone.

He saw me, then. He saw what was happening. The look on his sunned face. Never seen him in the water, I reminded myself, my toes splayed in the sand. He was wide-eyed, as if, expecting, what—something real maybe? He was a guy with extra-thin eyebrows, which made the dreadlocks (fucking blonde dreadlocks) and beard-scruff look even more fucking absurd. As if, who was he kidding?

My cocked fist made a charioted horsepower convergence with his nose.

The aftershock rippled up my forearm. Mark’s nose spouted. Blood leaped and got caught by the breeze, splatting against Maggie. She’d been bleating my name ever since she knew what I was going to do, but had sat stoned-still. I was looking at my knuckles, skinned from having collided with his bony brow, as Maggie helped herself up off the rock. In one motion, she tried to punt my groin with her sun-browned knee, her bikini top popping off. My suit somewhat cushioned the blow and sucked up the shock.

Brett and Nat headed for the truck. Nat covered her eyes. Brett was walking with his hands in his pockets. Then he stopped, looked at me standing adrift in the wasteland.

“Fuck me, right?” I yelled at Brett.

He stared at me, didn’t say anything. Nat was hidden in the cab of the truck. Brett got in, too, after spreading sand and gravel around with his toes against the pavement above. He sped around the circle of the street above us, the windows rolled down, his and Nat’s mouths going off, and on—but mostly on, and mostly his. They were somewhere else; somewhere worse. Maggie sorted out her bikini, huffing and cursing Almighty God. Mark drew away, his arm over Maggie’s shoulder, trudging up a dune to the street. Maggie screamed many things at me while loading Mark and his equipment into the passenger seat of Mark’s van, and then she got behind the wheel and slammed the door. She rolled down the window.

“Boone, you’re an asshole. You’ve always been an asshole.”

Inside the cabin of the van, I saw Mark’s eyes scroll up into his head. He held his Baja jacket against his nose but the drug rug fell down to his lap when Maggie reverse-swerved and lurched into first gear. Mark sat straight up, a bobble-head, flinging blood against the windows. Maggie rode the gear all the way down the lane, the engine begging for second but really wanting third—my middle finger raised in final salute.

I saw my board bobbing near the jetty, against barnacled rocks, pretty dinged up. I lifted it out and carried it toward the beach cliffs, jammed it beneath a heap of driftwood and covered it with more. Then the sky cracked open and stormed. I was alone. I felt the rainwater, even beneath my bare feet. Then a piece of glass, something sharp, bit the bottom of my heel. I cried out and stumbled, lengthening my stride to keep my wounded balance. I was bleeding.

More distended clouds broke open bursting, convulsing as if the rain wanted to drown not only me but the land and everything on it; even itself.

Why not.

Near the cliffs was a shortcut that reached the high ground. I’d walk back to my apartment, performing a steep scale, versus a mile-long incline. I pulled at roots and branch ends, without a good foothold. I had to get my body close to the cliff-side to scramble up. Granules of sand were trapped inside my wetsuit and dug into my skin, in the bends of my groin, and rolled against my thighs, as I monkeyed my way up the cliffside.

My hands flat on broken chunks of clifftop asphalt, little bits of it sticking to my palms, I pushed up, stood, and stretched. I stood watching everything fade to black. Even through the rainfall, I saw the flickering lights of offshore oil rigs and their skeletal forms in calculated points along the spread horizon.

I reached behind my neck, unzipped the top of my wetsuit, pulled it down around my waist, and let the rain rinse my face, shoulders, and chest. I raised my face to the sky and blinked, again and again. I stepped across the dreggy road to a cement sidewalk humped from rooted undergrowth. The palm trees whipped. The rain turned aslant, hitting me in the face. Entire palm leaves down on to the road dead. When I reached my apartment, my watch glowed. The rain beat on the face and I couldn’t see the time—the frantic rain coming sideways. My heel burned hot and I felt things that had no place in my wound mixing with it.

I turned toward my apartment, rounding a corner, and saw Nat on the front stoop. She leaned against her backpack, her eyes closed. I moved forward, into the artificial light of the outdoor fixtures. Her eyes opened. Her cheeks were red and covered in stains only tears could make.

I told her to hang on.

I slid between the side of the apartment and a row of sopping juniper bushes, the undergrowth scraping my heel even more. I went through the back and let Nat in through the front.

“Where’s Maggie,” she asked, biting her lip.

“Gone.”

I smiled with nothing to back it up.

“I need a shower,” she said.

I told her she didn’t have to ask.

Inside, the phone rang. Nat raccooned through her backpack and said the phone had been ringing off and on for an hour—that she could hear it from the steps. Then she disappeared down the hall and I could hear the sound of the spigot water change when she went beneath the showerhead.

Into the receiver, I asked Brett, “Where’d you go?”

“So… you know,” he said.

“I knew.

The call hung.

“It’s just one of those things,” he said.

“I get it,” I said. “She’s a hot one.”

“I’m going to stay with Pop for a while--”

“There’s no reason for it, Brett. I’m over it.”

“It’s not that. I just have to. I need to get away for a while. What is there here?”

“It’s really nothing, man,” I said. “Maggie was just another chick. And we’re fine staying in Cali, man.”

“He’s all we’ve got, Boonie. You know.”

I saw American Spirits from Nat’s spilled bag and fished one out of the pack.

Brett breathed frustration into the receiver. “When you see Nat, tell her for me, yeah? At least, tell her something.”

“Yeah, sure, why not.”

I was still trying to wake up from what he was telling me, even though I’d already known. Maybe it was too real, now. So I told Brett I would tell her, and that I wasn’t going anywhere, anymore, ever. We said, “Later.” I cradled the phone and tried to roll a joint but my hands shook. The gummed paper soggy, wounded. I tried again. The wet sand and blood formed a kind of adobe against my foot. I jumped to sit on the kitchen countertop, groaning, and rinsed the wound in the sink, my toes knocking over empty bottles of beer in the basin. I stripped my wetsuit and pulled a Pendleton blanket from the couch around me. I grappled with the joint and finally got it together with the paper of the cigarette.

Nat came out trying not to look pretty, wearing sweatpants and a large tank-top over a sports bra. Her hair was dark again and slick, tailing around her neck and breastbone. She slumped into the couch.

Rain was railing against the glass door and the windows.

“To hell with Brett,” she said.“That’s it, you know?”

I inhaled sharp, not looking at her. Then I told her I knew everything about what happened in Teahupo’o.

She covered her face and said, “How could I be so stupid? How can I, you… how can we be expected to go on knowing.”

I said we didn’t have to go on with it. I dropped the half-spent joint inside a cup of stale beer and listened to it hiss. “Brett knows no one’s perfect, even himself.”

“Well, he seems to think that way—that he’s perfect and can do whatever he wants.”

“My dad came off that way, too,” I said.

“I thought he died?”

I covered my mouth, forgetting that I couldn’t make a proper fist, from having hit Mark. I grimaced and coughed up a little smoke.

“So he’s not—?” she asked, her eyes closed and her head tired and heavy.

“No,” I said. “Brett tell you he was?”

She looked at me straightly. Then she told me as soon as the storm lets go, surfing won’t be fun anymore.

“There’ll be more storms,” I said.

And maybe it was the storm on TV that put Nat to sleep or the real one outside. Her body leaned against mine. I faded into the vacuum of a wave that snatched me up from where I had waded too far out from ever reaching any shore.

* * * * *

Before dawn, I walked upon the strewn landscape of the beach. It was only sprinkling under the brown fog. Still, I could hear Nat’s sleeping breathing, softly. Before I’d left I’d moved away from her gently, shrugged off my blanket and covered her carefully. Far above me, on the hillside, I could see the Cross. I looked down the coastline and smelled the peppered air once more. I fixed my eyes before me. What looked like a twisted branch, rinsed by the seafoam at the interval, I drew near to. Then I saw. Among the weedy algae and trash, the deflated body of the rattler—its cloudy eye through the eye slit, dead. The only life manifested coming from the tide running up on and over him, the tail limply swaying back and then forth. I looked closely, memorizing. The stacked driftwood heap larger and larger. I’d come only for my board. My knees depressed into the soaked sand beside the pieces of spongy wood I rummaged through only to find nothing.

Hudson Saffell grew up in Southern California where he experienced the coastal storm El Niño on land and sea. After duty as a Marine Corps Sergeant in Operation Enduring Freedom, he went to Penn State-Abington where he was the editor of the undergraduate literary magazine, The Abington Review, which won the 2016 AWP Directors’ Prize for Content. Hudson Saffell's poetry, fiction, and nonfiction have been featured in Bluestem, Exit 7, and The Military Writers Society of America 2015 Anthology. He currently lives in Philadelphia.


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