The night I met your father I was PMSing. It was muggy so I ran sans bra to the 7-11 on the corner of Market and Pine, yes, the sketchy one I won’t let you to go to, for some rocky road ice cream and tampons. Your dad was behind me in line with PBR and beef jerky.Read More
There’s black ice on Jackson Street, and right now I wish Jojo was the girl sitting next to me. Shoes off, feet up on the dash, hand stuck out the window like she’s egging on the 20 below wind chill—that’d be Jojo. “We got this, Les,” she’d say, and our car would fall in sync with the stoplights and the potholes and the other cars, like we’re playing that game at the bar where you have to guide a silver marble through a maze by tilting the board to avoid the traps.Read More
He lined the piglets together across the cutting board, wiped the blood on his pants to keep his grip on the knife and cut horizontally.Read More
Not long after the people disappeared and left their clothes behind, #piles became a thing on Twitter. Some of the pictures were probably real: the one of an old lady’s tweed skirt and
pantyhose, with a worn sepia-toned picture of a man in an army uniform. The one that hit me hardest: a split screen picture, with two pairs of jeans, a note left in the pocket of each pair: One said, “I love you.” The other said, “Let’s be friends.” #piles. #mylovelife.
One day, for preschool show and tell, Lily and Jenna brought in their previous lives. Lily wore an old-timey newsboy cap and brought one of those black and white clappers. She pointed to a picture of a scowling old man: “Me before I had heart failure.”Read More
Consider the silo. These classic structures spawn more than vermin—legions of rats in the grain, snakes with the girth of a child’s thigh. No, they also provide the breeding ground for urban legends, tales that contradict the adjective in their name, given the rural nature of our sketch.Read More
Nicole, a sixth grader, is swinging on the swings and thinking about the school play, an adaptation of Alice in Wonderland. / It's recess and Delilah is swinging alongside another sixth grade girl, Nicole. There is something she wants to tell Nicole. / Angie, the recess attendant, no more than twenty years old, watches the children during recess.Read More
I’m sitting in a plastic chair at a fold-out table in my sister’s kitchen, eating pizza straight out of the box. It’s a hot afternoon in Richmond and the section 8 apartment doesn’t have A/C. The windows are shut, the curtains drawn. My sister tosses me a lemon-lime Jarritos soda from a six pack on the counter and slides a rusted bottle opener across the table. The bottle is a twist cap, but I use the opener for show.Read More
Once, there was a husband and wife made of string. During their first years of marriage, he always picked at her threads. He ran his fingertips along her soft pointelle. He wanted to find and trace the knot of her heart and hold it in his hands.
"Stop it," she said those first years, laughing. "That tickles."Read More
"At the table, the women were quiet. There was a rustling of muslin and an uncomfortable clearing of throats. They would have heard about Henry’s cold wife, too, the woman with the new money and the unhappy eyes. They would have heard of her beauty and of her childlessness."Read More
"Mother and I hardly resemble each other, except to be both tall of stature, with the square jaws and prominent brows of many who live in this area. Our shoulders are wide, not sloping like those of so many women, and there is enough meat upon us to be considered farm-worthy. We have the strength and agility to catch a flustered chicken and wring its neck without getting clawed, to chop firewood and do a man’s work in whatever weather happens along."Read More
"We have been at this before, in a classroom, before he was Boyfriend, when he was just a boy, his face thinner, his lean arms strings of muscle. I remember his hands, oddly fat and pink. I remember graph paper, the mothball smell of books. The strand of hair I braided and re-braided after I stopped listening. "Read More
"It makes you feel inadequate and threatened and lost so you get on a train that’s headed out of the city singing slow ballads to your disco heartbeat to slow it down but of course there’s no slowing down now the train is only getting faster and you wonder if you should pull the chain and grind the wheels to a halt and go back home but your parents probably stripped off all their clothes and started screwing the moment you stepped out the door."Read More
"I heard that one girl ascended like the Virgin Mary just last week, rising in a gushing plume, her night gown billowing like the pulsing body of a jellyfish. Before her, another went, clawing upward on a rope only she seemed to see. The rest of us look up to these girls because they’re the success stories we’re meant to become."Read More