I sat on the basement floor of the courthouse reading through old death records. Outside the afternoon sun blasted the streets and sidewalks of the small Kentucky town. But down there it was cool and humid. Whitewashed stone walls glistened and streaked with dirty moisture. An air conditioner rattled in the only window, blocking out the sun.
I got the results from the paternity test and an offer for a new job on the same day. The paternity test was positive; I was the father. The new job was cutting meat at Chives, a specialty grocery store in Boulder. On my lunch break I texted my twin sister Maria that I wanted to share two things with her on Skype. I told my coworker, Lance, the news after work at Hank’s, our regular bar.
Another surly October morning on Rathdangan Farm, the name of our rocky little homestead in the foothills of the Sugarloaf Range, and Mother Nature was in a nasty mood. Her swirling wind bossed the sycamore leaves around the farmyard, and wisps of her clammy fog still clung to the steep mountain peak in the distance. My mother—we called her Mammy— was a whirlwind of work, as usual: milking cows, feeding calves and pigs, washing clothes, holding it all together.
My wife and I are into season 3 of Victoria, the Masterpiece Theatre series that seems as long as the queen’s monarchial reign. It’s a slow-moving narrative in which a tea cup is picked up, put down. Then, for dramatic tension, the camera pans to a terrier that, on cue, lifts a hind leg to squirt on the carpet—a barbarous display in the palace household.
Juxtaposition performs a sleight of hand. Presented with a collection of stories I might find the arrangement conducive to comparing them or I might not, but the possibility of not seeing the stories in relation to one another at all has been precluded.
Does not the world—that fat lout—/
stomp on their corns, hard?/
As Simon Peter and his brother Andrew toss their nets early in the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus appears and says that if they follow him, he will make them “fishers of men.” That they immediately forsake their work and go with him is usually seen as proof of their faith, but I have my doubts…
She was a tall, bony girl with long dark hair, bright green eyes and a thick, wide nose bent so firmly over her upper lip that the flesh seemed to have melted together. Boys on the playground pressed their noses flat against their faces and honked her name. Other...
You think the weather is predictable? /
All this year where the worst is minus ten
Vilnius was the last place she wanted to be. She distrusted its beautiful streets winding past courtyards full of cars and cats and huddled ghosts
Neil Shepard Prize in Fiction Judged by Molly Antopol Prize Winner: Sharon White Finalists: Daniel Riordan Sharon White Katrin Gibb Neil Shepard Prize in Nonfiction Judged by Amy Fusselman Prize Winner: Harry Leeds Finalists: Caroline Sutton Annie Dawid Harry Leeds...
Fall 2015 (Vol. 28, No. 2) FICTION: (2015 Neil Shepard Prize Winner) Sharon White, Nat Schmookler, Brooks Sterritt, Janis Hubschman, Anna Maria Hong, Maurice Carlos Ruffin POETRY: (2015 Neil Shepard Prize Winner) Annie Christain, J. Allyn Rosser, Joel Brouwer, Erin...