Salvage

Salvage

Tommy’s parents wave from the porch as our minivan pulls up. His dad smiles, and that’s when I see he’s missing about half of his teeth. Before retiring a few years back, Gerald had been a mechanic. During high school, he’d apprenticed at his uncle’s garage, then serviced army vehicles while stationed in Germany, then...
Symbolum Apostolorum: The Apostles’ Creed

Symbolum Apostolorum: The Apostles’ Creed

In my high school, where God was king and country and girls were not, everything teetered on the tightrope of treason. We knelt like mendicants while nuns used their wooden rules to measure the distance between the immaculate floor and the hems of our box-pleated mini-skirts. Because length and sexual proclivity were intertwined in the...
Are Now All That Remain

Are Now All That Remain

The way he slid Dylan from its cover and fingered the vinyl onto the platter. The way he picked up the needle, more than once, to make sure we heard the sizzle before the song. The way he shuffled into the kitchen in his socks. The hardwood floor of his living room dull and dark....
Typos

Typos

“Maybe we’ll go wind tasting” Perhaps, but only if there’s time. We’ll sample many varietals: breeze, whisper, gale. Winds assume the flavor of the land in which they originate—a terroir—and vary by how long they’ve aged. Cup them first in your palms. Take your time (though I know your time is fleeting). Smell the nuances:...
Letter to Jim Harrison

Letter to Jim Harrison

So here’s this semester’s news: I jump the fence and run the track madly at night, in some fear of university police. The bushes and trees sigh in the wind. Inky blurred figures. At the pond, in the glow of streetlight, I see a grass carp the size of a watermelon, and many bass, and...
Holy

Holy

My mother worries about my soul. She tells me so at her kitchen table, 6 a.m. We’re making nut-roll, even though it’s not a holiday, nothing to celebrate. My mother believes bread rises only in the morning. I’m not good with mornings. Last night I stayed up late, reading, worrying. “Ruining your eyes,” my mother...
Misinformation

Misinformation

When I was young I dressed like a boy, though I became irate when misidentified as such. Even now I am sometimes called sir. I object less. When I was young, the boys I loved wore their hair in the style of a bowl cut. I enjoyed the mushroom shape rimming round their heads. Now...
Backstitch

Backstitch

On the bus from LaGuardia Airport to Grand Central Station I’m thinking about the night, thirty years ago, with the boy who lived in Hell’s Kitchen. On 57th Street, in an apartment on the 57th floor, with a view of the Empire State Building. He was Cuban, this boy, with bright blue eyes, and his...
Like This

Like This

“That’s the sound,” Lucie says. “Like this.” She makes her hand thin and rigid in the white-blue computer glow. She stares at the hand, vibrates it in a stiff palsy before her face. Lucie’s on the far side of the couch, half-reclined on the oversized throw pillow an ex-girlfriend made for me long ago. The...
The Salmon

The Salmon

Before today, I’ve been my sister’s helper. Last summer, I’d helped Cindy clean the Leggett Motel cabins scattered in the redwood grove just off the highway. The buildings are run down, porches sag, and the floors inside not exactly plumb. While the cleaning solutions burned our eyes, we’d scoured the bathtubs, the showers, and the...
Dear Bad One

Dear Bad One

I hate anybody’s bad dream. My newest, right now, the size of a walnut, is the complex cystic structure on my left ovary, which my doctor said has grown larger since last time. It could be nothing. Could be nothing. I hate the pain everyone is in, at least sometimes, if he or she has...
Beauty and Youth

Beauty and Youth

It begins with a man, an older man, and he is nothing like your father. He is tall and kind and has soft hands and a lot of money. He waits for you to grow up. You are his housekeeper, his running partner, his intern. He is the bank president, a private pilot, your high...
Field Guide to the Weather

Field Guide to the Weather

Occluded Fronts (Accelerando) In yoga class on Saturday morning, resting in dead man’s pose, I felt time move through me: not a cobra slithering, not a fish gliding on the bottom of a river. A storm wave, flash flood, catastrophe. Like it or not, our bodies are clocks: left foot two o’clock, right foot noon....
A Nice Person

A Nice Person

Steven’s father couldn’t stop talking that day about the weather (windy, cold) and the Lennon Sisters who’d stolen his wife’s singing career. At one point, he clutched my hand with his own cold bone fingers. A wadded wet tissue passed between us. Steven was there, of course, it was his mother dying in the room....
American Professionals

American Professionals

When I think of how much I don’t know about infidelity, I think of that summer we all got hot and horny for people outside our marriages, how in love everyone was with the notion of someone with whom they wouldn’t have to really get naked, physically or linguistically, how the sky in my city...

About Allison Dalton, Artist, Issue 54

Allison Dalton is an Associate Professor at Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles, where she teaches project-writing and supports students’ writing and research practice in studio art and design classes. She is also an ordained reverend of the Los Angeles branch of the Church of Craft. Her recent work has lately included a...
Black in Middle America

Black in Middle America

I spent five years in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula—a place I didn’t even know existed until I moved there to attend graduate school. I lived in a town of four thousand people. The next town over, over the portage bridge, had seven thousand people. In my town, the street signs were in both English and Finnish...
\'in-glish\

\’in-glish\

I learned to speak English in preschool, at two and a half years old, still young enough to do away with any lingering Chinese accent. Though, sometimes, I wonder if every trace had been scrubbed away, listening intently to my own voice rattling around in my skull for signs of foreignness. The cheery teachers sang...