New Year’s Day 2016

New Year’s Day 2016

Feeling better because I looked up the verb to watch in the dictionary and its root is to awaken which isn’t sinister and since I was trying to figure out why it creeps me out so much that an old boyfriend is watching Latvian girls on his computer who do what he asks and answer all...
Night

Night

On Sunday I crawled under a ladder while trying to hang curtains with a drill, in an old house that was newly mine, during a winter that just wouldn’t quit. One of the thin iron rods had fallen from my grasp, its hardware scattering like marbles beneath the bed. On my knees, pawing like a...
A Brief Atmospheric Future

A Brief Atmospheric Future

If we’re to believe the neuroscientist Professor Marcus Pembrey, from University College London, who concluded that “Behaviour can be affected by events in previous generations which have been passed on through a form of genetic memory…phobias, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorders… [even] sensitivity to [a] cherry blossom scent…” then the pigeon knows of its ancestors’...
Some Childhood Dreams Really Do Come True

Some Childhood Dreams Really Do Come True

Then I wanted to be a mermaid. But first, I needed the tits and the hair. Hair long enough that it fell in naked curves down my naked chest while I lounged on a rock, luring sailors with my song. Now I have tits and hair down to my ass. You’re probably expecting me to...
Success and Prosperity

Success and Prosperity

A car hit our dog Prosperity not too long ago. The vet took out the staples in his body recently, and it looks like Prosperity has his health back. Prosperity’s big brother is Success. No one remembers when we started to call Success Success, as my grandma named him. (Grandma’s last name is Zheng, same...
Safety

Safety

I’ve lived my life in safe places, not at risk except for boredom and its associated disorders. The farm was safe, my room upstairs with my brother, the pale kitchen where we ate, maple cupboards my dad built, and the plastic table we inherited and still fold our clothes on today. I have no tales...
Meme 11

Meme 11

I was cast as one of two narrators in the kindergarten play. Hutchison Elementary, 1983. The Tawny, Scrawny Lion, adapted from a Little Golden Book. The script was ditto’d in landscape format, and sent home weeks in advance; the lavender lettering Mrs. Bunting was careful to highlight for each student. Tiny Erica Kuzma was Narrator 2....
“La Vuoi una Mano?”

“La Vuoi una Mano?”

The old man is wearing a black trench coat and holding it wide open, showing a shriveled, pasty penis. “Cazzo,” I say, staring out the train window. Cappella Agnuzzo is one of the few stops on the single-track Ferrovia Lugano-Ponte Tresa line where a passing loop allows two trains traveling in opposite directions to pull...
Blue

Blue

Years ago, Dad, you asked me at midnight to come outside. I followed you—of course I did—out of our house, into the humid dark. My feet brushed against the cool lick of grass, my hair lay still against my face in the unmoving night. Crickets whispered. A car on 55th Street hummed as you handed...
The Woods Are Going to Close

The Woods Are Going to Close

Mother unzipped our snow pants and clumps of sawdust fell to the floor. Before that, the bloodhounds sniffed us, and their handlers asked us where we had been. The police needed to retrace our tracks, to know that the hounds had been on our heels. Before that, the man offered us a ride in his...
I Wonder What Happens Next

I Wonder What Happens Next

Sister, you already know what I am going to say. We leave our mother’s womb together. Our stomachs flower brownly into diapers. Screaming from our cribs, we watch colorful bears bounce across television screens. It is right that a bear should have a rainbow on its stomach. It is right for that stomach to radiate...
Close to Shore

Close to Shore

In the months after his wife left, Thomas learned to cook. He matched socks and shopped for hair ties. His life, a labyrinth of small necessities, was not what he’d imagined. But, love. The girls need me, he told friends when they asked him to fish or hunt with them. On Friday nights he built...
They Say

They Say

I’d take him home in a minute, they say. At the mall, the grocery store, while standing in line at the bank. When you finally reach the teller she says, I hope he is your deposit. Your baby smiles shyly, blinks his blue eyes and buries his face in your neck. Then they want him...
Foundation

Foundation

“That foundation there,” my father said, pointing as he drove, “was once a little bungalow that belonged to a woman named Betsy Williams.” He slowed so I could see the foundation, the cracked rocks hidden among the wild onion and witchweed. A sycamore grew where the living room had been. We were driving through rolling...
Snapshot

Snapshot

I still cannot descend a steep flight of stairs or sit while someone leaves the table to fetch a camera without thinking of that Christmas fifty years ago, right after Great Uncle Earl had said the blessing in his Baptist deacon’s voice, when Great Aunt Velma (seventy-two at the time, my mother’s mother’s sister) got...
Hospitality

Hospitality

is when she walks into your restaurant, a tired young woman in fading clothes, because it is the only one that is still open past midnight on Atlantic Avenue and orders the cheapest thing on the menu and then she starts scrambling to put together three dollars for a falafel sandwich from the dimes and...
The Little Girl at the Door

The Little Girl at the Door

The doorbell rings, and I know before I answer it who will be standing on our misnamed welcome mat. It will be the intruder. A threat to my family. A domestic terrorist. An eight-year-old child. Sure enough, it’s the girl from the next street asking if my granddaughter is over. The little shit seems to...
Advance Directive to my Future Roommate at a Yet-to-be-Named Care Facility

Advance Directive to my Future Roommate at a Yet-to-be-Named Care Facility

For it will come to pass at some appointed hour, that you will sense from behind the pulled curtain of the room we share an agitation of the air, a perturbation of the light, and then a trickle of language, soft babbling you might first guess vaguely Pentecostal, until, breaking forth into raucous splendor, my...