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Dos and Don'ts

Dos and Don’ts

Do watch eight-year-old Esme as she comes across a small house made of sticks in her backyard. It’s nested in a pile of damp leaves beneath the shady bur oak. The house is held together by strips of bark and knotted strands of animal hair. See the fly crawling in the shadow of the house’s […]


The Headless Child

To Comfort the Headless Child

The Headless Child built a gas chamber out of Legos and now cannot sleep. Only the dead truly sleep his mother says, and this doesn’t help. A black wind batters the window, an owl cries in the storm. It is the Headless Child’s past that upsets him. He recalls The Episode With The Plastic Bag […]


Yankee at the Sitting Up

The Yankee at the Sitting-Up

The Yankee comes in the back, brushing by my casket in his creased wool, smelling like he’d just swum in his leather-and-pine cologne.  He fishes his way through the mourners who stand around fanning away the July heat and takes up a spot, nonchalant-like, along the back wall, opposite where my body’s laid out.  Next […]


Devil Got You on Speed Dial

The devil called on Tuesday. I’m hungry, it said. Feed me. You hung up–but a thing like that doesn’t stop a devil. It called back. And kept calling. Night after night after night until you couldn’t remember what day it was or whether you were dreaming or just sleepwalking through life. The only thing that seemed real was the gnawing in […]



White as china, she is, a new polished plate, ready to be broken. She ain’t more than ten-and-fifteen, made very tiny by the master’s heavy, black overcoat what’s thrown about her shoulders. I stand back as the door swings wide, the carriage crunching away over the gravel, her boots tipping and tapping on the step, […]


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When the first snow falls, it burns. The other women dance in the flurry without me, beneath a moon clouded by giants’ breath. Snowflakes spin into their open mouths and dust their outstretched hands. They dance that winter’s planting will be done, that their wombs will spill over with its seed. They dance that summer’s […]



Day one The dogs that aren’t dogs anymore whisper at the basement door. They know my name. They sing it to me, taunting and giggling. Teeth, gray licking tongues, and sun yellow eyes flash in the crack between the door and the top stair. My neighbor Doug ’s basement is musty and bare. No air […]


The Man in the Basement

When I bring food to the man in the basement, he asks me what day it is. I don’t remember. The young cockroaches are coming out of the walls. He has killed one. The young ones are yellow, like the ends of the cigarettes I don’t bring him. And we never talk anymore. I cut […]


Face Time

I WAS TEARING THE SKINS OFF SHALLOTS LAST NIGHT when Mother came in wearing Fifth Face. Fifth Face looks like Julie Andrews, but the thing doesn’t fit Mother’s skull. You can see wires sticking out behind. Fifth Face speaks in Zenlike one-liners that I suspect are lifted from Kierkegaard, although we don’t have any Kierkegaard […]


The Cratch, Thy Keeper

When that Cratch am watchin’, you better do right. Suck a corncob if them striped birds go over. Cranes pass on high, you best bury you some young mouse teeth. Wear radishes round you neck. You see leaves blowin’, best get gone quick. If it a odd number day, stay away from metal. Don’t move […]

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