Choice Words

We are at Boots, Etc., exit 149 when driving South in Georgia towards New Orleans. We watch as a man hammers hand-wrought silver tips onto Henry’s new red leather boots. The man uses shining little nails, he squints, he moves his hands as delicately as a pianist, as a mother braiding hair. As he works behind

Hide and Seek

I crept into the dark, vacant stairwell, the source of many family ghost stories and nightmares. The wind vibrated through the walls. The ocean was so close I could hear its hum even here. Time felt slower in the dark, I couldn’t see the change of things, flies in the dust or the dandelion behind

Lament of Demeter

Among the silks, I felt for a bare arm. Among the racks of silk and chiffon, I felt for an arm that would be propped tenderly beside the body it belonged to, a body trying to make itself stand in the way of a whisper, or as translucent: a body that was hiding. My fingers

Candle Soup

The sterile metal of the needle pushed against my skin. It probed the quivering tissue, like a ripe grape. Then with skin pillowing around the tip, it sank beneath the surface. I suppressed a wince. It wasn’t so much the needle as what I knew was waiting for me in the next hour: crushing immobility

The Last Forest

Except for the light breeze everything is different from all she had ever known. The temperature, the humidity, that she cannot see the horizon, the colors and the way the light dances over the ground. She has never smelled anything like this before, but it is not unpleasant. It comes closest to a combination of heavy wet mud and the youngest grasses. Behind her she could still have seen the familiar blue sky, green water and yellow sand through the trees, in case she had looked back.