Logs crackle as Hasha watches the needle in her mother’s hand pierce and reemerge from the embroidered hem of her father’s coat. Threads weave their family’s history into the garment’s borders: the victory with the defeat, the joy with the loss.
“Here is the day your grandparents married,” says Mother, pointing to two silver doves. “And here is the night fire claimed their barn.”
“What happens when the border’s complete?” Hasha asks, wondering if her life will count towards the colorful threads in her family’s coats.
“Then we’ll begin again,” Mother smiles, and clips the threads between her teeth.
We’d come to see the last of the Mermaids, called it a conservation trip but really we were just there to gawk. And point. Stand in the background of a CNN reporter’s camera and wave to our friends back home who had thought we were cruel to come so far just for a sideshow. Continue reading →
Brad was an explorer born six centuries too late. He’d known this from childhood, staging naval battles in the bathtub. Trading pinecones and beads with his action figures. But at forty-six there were no new worlds to conquer, save the mysterious space where paper jammed in the office copier. So Brad set out in his dingy boat, looking for a land to call his own. Continue reading →
Sylvia had all the next day to talk herself out of the party. As sun set, she sucked on menthols and paced the balcony shared with the other smokers on her side of the building. It had a view of a brick wall. Inspiring.
That earthy, peaty smell like so many earthworms’ private fantasies richened the air that morning. The world was keeping secrets, and Jørgen was set on discovery. He sharpened his tools, mended his bag, and looked up the hill. The sun was high by now. He groaned.
“Sorry.” Her fingers grazed my back. I’d forgotten that feeling, like kittens climbing your spine and curling in your throat. Warm and matted and mewling. Disgusting, if you think about it. Who thinks about it at the time? Kittens in your throat. That’s gross.Continue reading →
Francis squinted until it looked like his toes were walking across the mud brown river, instead of swinging midair from the academy windowsill. That way his kicks could carve waves, bashing the cherry-red ferry tours against each other like toys in the bathtub.
The dorm attendant dawdled past his open door. “They just rang. I’m sorry, Francis.”
I’d fallen into a rhythmic stride en route to the dormitories, where my path led between a ridge of lamplit trees and pond reeds dusted with snow tops. That powder sifted over my route between the parking lot and campus proper would melt before morning, but it was here now, and so was I. Everyone else would be asleep at this hour, tucked away from frosted windows and clanging radiators. But here, falling into the silent rhythm of heel-toe, I left a single set of footprints behind me. Continue reading →