February 16, 2017

In what order are events stored in our memories?

My brain edits our days down to scrapbook snapshots: our brown legs, entwined on a ship’s deck; your bikini-framed belly, round and taut as a beachball; the veins of my arms like lines on a roadmap home. I categorize our...

February 15, 2017

Sunlight streamed through the window and followed the old man. Five measured steps. Pivot. Five more the opposite direction. Repeat. He paused only when a white-coated figure silently emerged from the room. “Hank. How is she?”

The younger man shook his head and grimaced...

February 14, 2017

“I can’t leave her now, she’s already gone.”

Dad gets up and fiddles with the kettle. He fills it with more water, even though our cups are full, water still steaming.

I’ve been away from home for too long. The wallpaper in the kitchen is still the same, but I couldn’t r...

February 13, 2017

I swing the braided strap over my shoulder, inhale the leather’s musk. I am collecting, like snapshots, all the little acts of leaving her, filing them away as proof that I took action. I pull open the door, walk through it.

I knew I should travel light, so I got Jeanne...

February 12, 2017

Franchesca leaned against the brick wall and waited for the numb feeling to take over as she let the tiny bag slip from her fingers, drop slowly to the pavement at her feet, and become just one more of the dozens of “tenderloin butterflies”: baggies torn open by jonesi...

February 11, 2017

Yours is the bleakest of evenings and yes, I do know who you are. Thin-lipped, unsmiling, resting your head in your hands. You offer me nothing, not even a candle’s flicker from your shuttered house. I lit my last match after the sun fell, then climbed your land’s fenc...

February 10, 2017

The front door slammed. Roger’s boots clomped along the floor towards me in the bedroom. The sound stopped near the bed.

“Marcy, you’re in the same position as when I left this morning.” He sighed.

He leaned over to give me a kiss, but I pulled my legs closer to my chest...

February 9, 2017

Everyone stopped talking when they crossed the threshold. Each visitor peered into the long, freshly-hewn pine box that lay on the table. Some of them kneeled and mouthed words. All of them spoke softly to the tired woman with auburn hair and red-rimmed eyes standing n...

February 8, 2017

It was my sister Anja who suggested the Erie Zoo. We were on the rocks so I took my girlfriend for a lunch date. I wanted it to be magical for us. Walking the open gravel paths a warm breeze playfully ruffled my hair. Sunlight dappled and winked through the trees as if...

February 7, 2017

The bay thrashes against itself like a dying eel. It’s a warm August night, and somewhere in Pocomoke Sound, a tiny skiff is buffeted by the chop. There’s a woman up front with binoculars and a man in the back who’s been rowing for hours. Fortunately, she tells him to...

February 6, 2017

The stranger came to Karamea with two bullets, and left with only one. It was Len Carlyle he put down: some old grudge from the Māori wars up north, maybe. Din’t matter: stranger came to town, stranger left Len Carlyle bleeding in the mud, stranger rode east without an...

February 5, 2017

There are times to treasure, and people to treasure.


“Pair of jacks.”

“Full house!”

The grownups traded loud stories between endless poker hands. I was five and exhausted, pretending I couldn’t hear. it seemed I’d barely drifted asleep when a shrieking teakettle st...

February 4, 2017

“You wander around too much. Can’t sit still,” Jamie said to himself in a voice deeper than his own. “Just post up someplace, boy.” He kicked at whatever brush fell underfoot as he went. Leaves went flying. Sometimes the rotting leaves from last fall hid muskrat burrow...

February 3, 2017

I never wanted children. He and I agreed before we got married that we weren’t going to have kids. But accidents happen — as I counted the pills in the package in one hand, and the number of days I was late on the other, I was filled with equal parts dread and awe.

I li...

February 2, 2017

I have this idea that as we go through life, we tie knots in ourselves. Knots tied loosely to allow for easy release, or tied tightly to handle their intended load. Sometimes, we tie these knots in others; and we undo those which hold us down.

For the longest time, I be...

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