I knew a man, Mr. Marco Marsden, who lost his hand in a slaughterhouse. The story was different every time I heard it, but the version Mr. Marsden was most fond of was this: he was cutting up meat for market one day when he lost focus—he said that he was suddenly overcome with sympathy […]
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How long can it possibly take a supposedly motivated shop-rat to cash a paycheck, minus the $5 fee, knock back just one draft, as he promised, then buy six for the road? For the umpteenth time, Hector Fritch consults his wristwatch in the dashboard lights. And now a cold, early April rain has begun to […]
It starts in Canyon Creek Hospital, where, on Sunday mornings, he waits for his mother to die. She rasps my name as I come to stand behind him. But all I hear is beep, beep, beep: a funeral march for velocity. Each week there is a little less of her, another inch of bone […]
I’ll hobble into the foothills to stand half-blind in the lilted dark above the draw, looking out over the valley where I was birthed and brought up. Later, in bed, my lover’s finger will circle the bruises on my back, each drummed violently into being— She might compare them to islands or flat blueberries. In […]
My mother grows delphinium, foxglove, zinnia, plucks the dew laden morning. With a storm of petals, she anoints my waking in a chaos of tenderness. My father shows me winter’s stark branches, its naked sky, washes my eyes in the deep blue of dusk. Fullness, woven by light, intoxicated by color, reels with […]
Nothing stays at rest molecules of a crystal—table salt snowflakes, diamonds, quartz—repeat their patterns in tight formation like a platoon at inspection faces still as glass but young and like glass, not organized a state between two states neither liquid nor solid only light slips through the empty spaces glass shows true or changes light’s […]
On the weekends the boys would take their bikes into the desert carrying wicker baskets and sharpened sticks in search of rattlesnakes. When they’d find one beneath a rock or behind a bush the youngest would gig it on the end of his makeshift spear, not with any primal, Spartan war cry but with a […]
The obituary talks of his smile. I imagine it breaking through his face like a thunderhead, frantic like a hunted bird. Imagine it breaking into a room it was not invited. Frantic, like a hunted bird remembers who sent the buckshot into a room it was not invited. This morning I learn he remembered to […]
Fire blight has touched the pear, and the bright leaves And rounding fruit crumble to ashes despite the sun, The showers, the desire to be and be more; Shepherd’s Crook has withered the branches to a spasm That pulls the tree earthward and breaks it to its grave, Though the tree is stretching the sky […]
put on Atom Heart Mother and guide him to sit on the edge of the bed with lit candles on the headboard and talk about your Carolines and Rosemaries before he would ask you to watch his skinny rib abductor muscles ripple while he reaction-screamed like a dinosaur and grab his hips with resolution to […]