The Extra Key

The Extra Key

appeared from nowhere beside the others, wrought iron, thick as a quarter. Seven numbers engraved on its head, some inscrutable. Charcoal landscapes in its valleys and plateaus. Cut like the line of a cliffedge. It wasn’t home or a safe. It unlatches, perhaps, a...
Lesbian Child

Lesbian Child

In the woods behind the house I built a tiny city from sticks and rolled matchbox cars down moss-lined streets where everyone in every building kept my secret. I collected candles of all shapes. Arranged and rearranged them in my bedroom, but I wouldn’t let them...
Suffer the Shriveled of Spirit to Curse at You

Suffer the Shriveled of Spirit to Curse at You

Does not the world—that fat lout— stomp on their corns, hard? Do they not starve for sweets that, eaten, stab their cavities? Let them aouga as you make a legal left. Let them howl as you drop the last on-sale angelfood cake into your cart just as they run up,...
After the Bomb Drill, Miss Hartung Teaches Weather

After the Bomb Drill, Miss Hartung Teaches Weather

You think the weather is predictable? All this year where the worst is minus ten And tornadoes are news from Ohio? We’ve had school every day, not one delay, But don’t be fooled, just you wait, now listen: In less than a day, sixty-eight inches of rain Has fallen, and...
The Chattering Classes

The Chattering Classes

The masses chatter wherever they mass, the classes chatter even during tests, while the Chattering Classes speak for themselves alone, testing others’ patience. The patients, depleted from chatter surfeit, are admitted to the institution and quickly plug their ears....