Ever since Mary’s hip replacement, it was Jack’s responsibility to get the mail. Every afternoon (excepting Sundays and federal holidays), he walked down the block to the trashbox–as he called it–and sorted out the charitable requests, which he hid under his shirt then tore to bits in the bathroom so Mary wouldn’t see. Way too […]
After the grenade went off under him, they had no choice but to cut off Jon’s arm. When Jon woke, he still felt the arm’s weight, but it wasn’t there. He fell back into the cot, eyes closed, and he saw it, his arm, his left arm, dancing in a field of purple pansies. How […]
I settle Dad into one of the few chairs with armrests and ask if he’d like me to fetch him a magazine. He shakes his head almost before I’ve finished speaking. It’s his standard response these days: if in doubt, say no. The street door opens and a couple come in with a little girl. […]
The bats were always getting us into trouble. Dusk was a warning– time to head home. If you could still see yellow, you weren’t late. Every day you pushed your luck, just a few more minutes as the sun reached out one last time. It was worth the risk, because that’s when the bats came […]
This is the real me: I am the kin of armchairs and baseboards and clever lighting. I am indistinguishable from the scenery. Tonight, I am wallpaper, deep crimson with a black scrollwork pattern. I am dark but for the single incandescent lamp to my right. I am the backmost corner of a posh tavern on […]
They brought Jamie home in the shirt Addie had mended, the tiny stitches on the right cuff black with soot. The socks she had darned the night before, the heels having grown thin, were scorched and ragged. His work boots had been blown off, the men said. But it was the watch that broke her. The silver disk was still tucked in Jamie’s shirt pocket…
A new job in a new city. A rented flat in the outskirts, where the streets are greased with litter and a cold wind blows endlessly, seemingly out of nowhere. I find the park on the third day, and it truly feels like a discovery. No one goes there except a half-dozen interchangeable old couples, and they go only to the lake in the middle, ignoring the overgrown walks, the meagre flowerbeds.