Oprah will die! Oprah will die! Oprah will die! you think as you pump gas at Gas on the Go on Thanksgiving Day. You mean to send her no bad karma, of course. It’s merely a fact. Still, it seems more shocking than other deaths. Oprah will die! Oprah will die! Oprah will die! you feel like shouting it to the world, waking its citizens from their zombie-like stupor. That would do it, you think—Oprah’s
Juniper bushes outside a green house. Matchbox cars in the sand, the trace of their tracks leading away from me. These are the first things I remember. The dog’s neck, the swell of ticks under her collar–their white balloon bodies. I wait on the playground swing for Grand to pull up in old Hildy, the brown Town Car that made it all the way from Oak Ridge and would make it back again later that
The Ship With Three Decks
“But the old sailor had brought along the barrel containing the water of long life, in which he immersed the youth’s body, only to see him jump right back out as sound as ever and so handsome that the king’s daughter threw her arms around his neck.” The man with cancer stopped reading from the article he’d found online and looked up at his colorectal surgeon.
Words string out like clothesline along each page as Ellen reads in the yard. Thoughts sweep in like tides as she turns each page. She has questions, and they have led her outside into the early evening sun.
The drugs in the drawer. The dirty sock in the car. The strange drawling phone message on their machine. Ellen has taken on the need to observe her home from afar, the dog at her side. After
The radio was tuned to the local NPR station so they didn’t have to talk. Tara was glad because each time she thought of something to say, it began with, “Had I known,” and Pete already explained that if he’d told her he was taking her to his sister’s for his nephew’s birthday, she wouldn’t have come and if he’d told his family he was bringing her, they would have been on their best
Dear Dr. Hanson, Nurse Cache and Lisa:
I just wanted to write this note thanking you all for working these many years to keep me upright and nominally functional. Very kind of you all, and one of my few fond memories of Penurburg, along with the many students at Penurburg State, and my dentist. You guys are the best and have my unending appreciation.
I have, after many months, engaged the services
Elise awoke thinking about lighthouses and safe harbors, or lighthouses not indicating safe harbors. It must have come from a poem. Louise Glück? She tried to recall the words and stopped when she realized she was lying in a bedroom she hadn’t seen before. She was naked. Not a safe harbor.
She wanted to get the A train home before remembering she didn’t know where she was. She parted the curtain
Death by cop is a more common form of attempted suicide than I would have guessed before I became a crime reporter. Among the poor, the desperate, the heart-crushed, the mentally ill, and the abjectly lost it is up there with bridge jumping and, believe it or not, about a third as prevalent as guns, pills, opiate overdoses, and car exhaust fumes, mainly because these latter remedies for our
for Mike Madonick
On the recommendation of a colleague of mine, who says my work lacks variety, I am going to attempt to describe, of all things, a jar of mayonnaise. In his opinion a more varied story will arise from this exercise. I have my doubts, but we shall see.
To begin with, the jar is made of clear glass. At least I believe it’s clear; since the jar is full, the glass may only appear to
Brown Sparrow was asleep in a linden tree when the first suicide bomber blew up. The two following implosions shook her body. She didn’t pause to breathe but left the linden tree and flew along the Canal de St. Denis, past the honey locusts, horse chestnuts, mimosas and Empress trees on the Boulevard Voltaire. She flew over Le Bataclan. There was no refuge tonight in Paris.
The little brown
Through the heavy rain hitting my window ledge, we see her balance on the tightrope, her arms rowing in the air. She would give her life for her art, we say to each other. This performance is the real thing, says a man with a long mustache like Dali’s.
A gray cloud with translucent ends lands gently over the top of her head, her stretched neck, her breasts and ribs and belly squeezed into
The Republicans started their convention in Cleveland, Ohio today. The TV is on with the sound muted, and I’ve raised the blinds to look out the window at the two hawks in my back yard. I’m lying in bed as I watch the hawks, who have no idea they are being watched and not the Republicans. There is an old book in my lap, early Hemingway. It is a book I know, but I don’t mind. Since last week
My mother leaves a tense message on my phone. “I need you here tomorrow. I’m out of pads.”
I live ninety miles away in New Orleans but I’m on vacation. We haven’t spoken in six weeks, since I took my son to visit her. She brightens around grandchildren and with him she smiled girlishly and petted his arm, asked him about his studies in London. He bit at a nail and she brushed his hand from
I want to commit the details of this winter to memory and next year I will be able to figure out small differences. All around where I sit at the bar, this black and steel enclave, the roasting of coffee beans is taking place in gleaming metal barrels attached to flashing panels and space age exhaust piping. I can’t tell skill levels of the staff. I cannot tell if I will recover my ability
The body is a temple and Sundays are for rest. If only you worked hard. Enjoy food but don’t overindulge. Trim your nails and keep them scrupulously clean. Likewise see that your children are bathed and immaculately dressed. Do not allow your daughter to go out in that slinky, skin-tight frock. Would you want her to tempt? Studies show that cherry red convertibles are 100 times more likely to be