The state of the body

He looked so hollow in his little box, surrounded by God and all the unlit penny candles. The living lines of his face were erased. I could see the gray in his hair, a fine drift of curls I had not noticed before. His untamed eyebrows were freshly barbered, his flamboyant complexion struck butter-dull. ThisContinue reading “The state of the body”

The storm

We sit cross-legged on the scatter rug and listen to the rain peck at the windows. The water fractures itself against the screen and it draws patterns I want to trace with my fingers. We have a box of candles on the kitchen table, for when the dark comes back inside. She leans into meContinue reading “The storm”

The good girl

Compelled to stir the ashes, of what was cruel, what was unadorned. And still I reach for those extinguished minutes and years, and walk into the smoke, shoulders broke, bending to grief’s provocation, aroused by what could have been. Elani was the most gifted of us, but it was hard to watch her subtract herselfContinue reading “The good girl”

Speaking of Drunk Larry…

Ricky laughed. “Speaking of opening the door. Guess who was waiting on me to open the joint this morning?” “Drunk Larry.” “Hell, yeah.” He combed through his hair with his fingers. A quick task since all that was left were gray bristles. The boy he had been rode a Harley Softail and had hair downContinue reading “Speaking of Drunk Larry…”

Romantic ideas

“I love her, you know.” “Everyone loves her.” “But, yeah. I mean really.” “Well…..” “No, really.” “She’s a nice girl. But c’mon. You’re too young. She’s too young.” “Doesn’t mean it isn’t real, Efrim.” “Well don’t tell her. She’ll get all upset.” “Why?” “Just because. You don’t know, David. She’s… flighty. She gets these bigContinue reading “Romantic ideas”

The father of children

The move to Wishing was the best thing. Frank Cobin wasn’t a big shot in town anymore, engorged with bravado and insolence. He was the stranger in town, and had no favor with the thin-faced men: the corner-men, the hustlers, the scammers, the casually dangerous. The move to Wishing was the worst thing. Marooned fromContinue reading “The father of children”


He still listens for sirens. He doesn’t hear them, not exactly, but he waits for them, waits for the whole damned thing to come down. A police siren, a plain blue warble, and you don’t know if they’re coming for you or heading somewhere else. That town, swear to God, moved and breathed, and theContinue reading “Sirens”


The funeral was simple but elegant. There were few in attendance, other than his father’s former colleagues whom David barely remembered. He recalled dim dinners with them, and the unappetizing fare such as oysters and fowls that were not chicken. There was wine and cognac, and peach-based desserts. Sometimes there was a sweltering ham, slicedContinue reading “Academia”


She was eight, and then sixteen. He was twelve, and then fifteen. I never changed. I was always a fourteen-year-old boy, stuck in the same time and body, the same uncomfortable inertia. I watched my friends grow and change, but I stayed the same. My thoughts pitched like dust, abstract and transient, but I was theContinue reading “Changes”

A change in the weather

David showed up with a knapsack on his back, a big grin on his face. “What’s with all the mystery?” he asked. “Note in the mailbox? Ya’ll can still come to my door.” Efrim shrugged. He didn’t want to explain. It seemed too complicated and he didn’t want to hurt David’s feelings. Elani smiled whenContinue reading “A change in the weather”