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.
Winnie’s 350-square foot studio that she called home resembled a submarine, she liked to say to strangers, to offer them a quick image of what it was like to live in small spaces. A submarine was dark and hollow, challenged by gravity. Her apartment was on the top floor of a walk-up tenement building in downtown Manhattan, and got afternoon light. But at night she could squint and conjure the resemblance. Not that she’d ever set foot inside of a submarine.
My first camping experience. We’re in Vermont over a Columbus Day weekend on the land of our absent friend Vinny. I’m keeping my husband company as the camera on its tripod records the imperceptible nighttime movement of the stars. Peace. Love. Tranquility. Until the mood is shattered by Ron’s passionate certainty that the two young strangers—unexpected intruders we’d encountered on this private land—are our murderers-in-waiting.
Stephen Florida by Gabe Habash Coffee House Press, 2017. I’m overcome with dread when I begin a novel and realize that the author is invested in voice. Voice is presented as a such an integral aspect of the writing craft that we take for granted its...
A week after the fourth of July, my dog Speedy nipped an eight-year old kid who wandered onto my property from the subdivision across the way. Speedy was a Shepherd-Husky mix and normally pretty docile, so I thought the kid must have been teasing him, asking for it somehow. The kid went home and cried to his parents, then his father came over and said he’d called the police. He was about a foot shorter than me, and had a litigant’s righteous air. But, either he was bullshitting, or the police forgot to come, because that was the last I heard about it.
I was never bent on saving you. / It seemed to mean a kind of coddling language: / the easy I hear you, the unnatural You’re seen. / Anyhow, I couldn’t step away from drinking / long enough to seem credible
when it came to addiction.
noun / the inability to remove a person from one’s / thoughts, most often accompanied by a kind of / vibration in the chest similar to the flickering light / of fireflies over a summer meadow or minnows in / a shallow pool; their silver dartings.
I arrived early at the Church of St. Mary at Westminster College to get my music together and try the piano. It was late April in Fulton, Missouri, cold and damp, and the morning haze set the church in a sort of numinous relief against the pervading Midwestern gray. I leaned against the large wooden door, stepped inside, and shook off the chill.
Fuji Bay in Sioux City, slow Monday night, and The Bachelorette’s on TV. She’s stopped on her way back from the airport, in an attempt to self-soothe with sushi. Earlier in the day, she said goodbye to The Beloved in a different airport, then dozed on and off through two uncomfortable legs. Saying goodbye to The Beloved is always dreadful.
You turn off the lights. You shut and lock the doors. If there are windows, you herd your students to a corner where they can’t be seen from the windows. You tell them it’s important they stay still. You tell them it’s important they stay silent. You use the tone of voice you reserve for only the most serious things. The tone of voice you once used with your own children when you told them never to shoot up. You only have one life, you once said, don’t throw it away.
Want to Submit Your Work?