The Northville Review
an online literary journal
Hourglass Lens

Nate East

I spent hours in the office pondering the bunkers under buena vista park. They were old shipping containers, someone said. There were doors in the hillside that lifted free under rectangles of sod, and they were cold and iron-heavy like chest lids or waystacks of sheetmetal pushed down into the dirt by some acolyte’s new hands after a rainfall.

Back then my dreams were young and wild. We found traveler’s shacks built in forgotten woods, beyond the surveyor fences, surrounded so thick with trees that the property owners didn’t know. Walls of aluminum siding and car metal, truck tarp, junk scraps salvaged from the rail yards in the east bay and fresh pallets stolen outright from construction sites, all repurposed with crowbars and racked nails and old rebar and the half-arm sledgehammers of railfolk and little tackhammers of chirurgeon runaways and the hard and enscrolled fingers of travelers long departed from the valleys and scrub woods and the long purple coastland.

In her backyard in oakland the grey fence rotted in the sunlight, and our tan arms were all dashed-line mapped with color tattoos, geometric over veins and thin bones.

About the author

Nate East writes poetry and fiction for Cowan's Gap zine in San Francisco. His work has also appeared in The Rumpus, Monkeybicycle, SoandSo Magazine and elsewhere, and he maintains a website at