Cosumnes River Journal

Spring 2023

Vol. 14, No.1

Essays and Fiction

A New Friend

By Alex Williams

Getting out of the house seemed like a good idea until I realized we were going to a sports bar on a Friday night. It was just past eight o’clock, yet we had to pay an entrance fee and show our IDs just to get in. Luckily, I had a few spare bills in my wallet for “just in case” situations, although typically it wouldn’t be for this scenario. 

Read more…

Photo by Pixabay on

Something in the Way She Doesn’t Move

By Brandon Karcher

At 8:33 in the morning, he looked at the register clock and clenched his brow. Heidi was three minutes late. He figured she was adjusting her apron in the kitchen in back and didn’t think much of it. She’d be out soon enough, for all the good it would do him. In another two minutes or less, she’d be at it again, adjusting her apron, her bra, pretending to be bending down to open the refrigerator, but taking an inordinately long time to do it.

Read more…

Photo by Porapak Apichodilok on

A Brief History of My Most Defining Moments

By Camille Nye

Prom Night

A silky emerald-green dress brushes against my ankles. My heels click against the pavement, and I brush loose curls behind my ear. I’m surrounded by people dancing under fairy lights; the energy of everyone around me has me caught up in a whirlwind. In the back of my mind, I’m just thinking about how I’m going to miss being seventeen. Sitting in an old…

Read more…

Photo by Anni Roenkae on

An Ode to My Favorite Compound

By Chio Drew

Miller Park-hunting for shells right off of the shore, as my heels gingerly sank into the sand. At that tender age, I didn’t know much, but I knew that water was home to amazing things. 

Santa Cruz-my first time both witnessing and contemplating just how far the waters of the world reached.

Read more… or Listen here…

Photo by Matt Hardy on

A Quiet Tap

By Jacob Saca

The sun hung low in the sky as Matthias made his way down the familiar road toward the tavern. His wooden cane was in front of him tap–tapping to let him know what was there. The town had just finished this year’s harvest, and the whole town was abuzz about the upcoming festival. Matthias could hear children running this way and that, all chattering excitedly about what they would do during the festival. It was like the whole town was more alive, like everyone wanted time to go faster.

Read more…

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko on

The Monet Family in Their Garden at Argenteuil 

By Julia Marcotte

It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon. The heat that August had been unbearable, but that day, in the shade of the plum trees, it seemed a bit more forgiving. A cool breeze floated up off the Seine and blew through the garden, where the chickens sputtered around, pecking at seeds and grass.

Read more…

Photo by Jill Wellington on


By Matthew Ochoa

Dream 1

A space fills with distant pinpricks of light, drifting in a dark void, unable to return. Afraid and lost, my veins run cold and slow. Then it wells up inside me, a force starting from the depths of my being, filling me with paralyzing sludge. Then as quickly as the horror began, I awake.

Read more…

Photo by stein egil liland on

Karachi’s Coolest Mom

By Omar Khayam

Unlike the other moms in Karachi, Saba’s mom was cool. She would let Saba smoke her stash and would even let Saba join in on the parties when her friends were over. Saba liked that. No other high schoolers were partying with their parents. Saba remembered being 12, walking into her mom’s room.

Read more… or Listen here

Photo by Marek Piwnicki on


Behind Closed Doors

By Aidan McDowell

“Dance for me!”

The powerful body fell onto the metal floor.

A dream come true,

but her soul was crushed.

Too many times she was tossed 

Read more…

Photo by Pixabay on

I Will Never Know Your Name

By Brandon Karcher

I will never know your name

for you were never given one.

You will never know my shame

for what’s done is done.

Read more…

Photo by Hakan Erenler on

It sucks to have a po’m that’s due tonight

By Brandon Karcher

It sucks to have a po’m that’s due tonight

The night before turkey to be eaten

I’m not certain I will make my midnight

If you’ll permit me to be a speakin’

Read more…

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

Living in a Dream

By Brenna C. Saunders

A fragile breath

with a single falling tear.

Denial rang strong

as his body trembled,

sand shifting beneath him.

Read more…

Photo by Aleksandar Pasaric on

Deaf Jam

By Chio Drew

Feel the beat

reverberate through your system.

Tap your feet

to match the rhythm.

Nod your head,

as if you know

Read more… or Listen here…

Photo by Sebastian Ervi on

Brooding Babbler

By Omar Khayam

On a branch on a tree

sat a babbler.

Sad for reasons only babblers know. 

T’was until she was met by a caterpillar, 

the babbler knew no way out of her woes.

Now sits the babbler happy, 

tummy full, with a smiling beak. 

The babbler flutters off her branch,

Read more…

Photo by Pixabay on

Some of our writers, from left: Omar Khyam, Julia Marcotte, Brnadon Karcher, and Aidan McDowell

The Cosumnes River Journal is a magazine of literature and art.

We are not accepting unsolicited submissions at this time. 

We hope you enjoyed these words.

Editorial Team: Nadia Rehman, Rose Spisak, and Heather Hutcheson