Fiction

Surface Level

It was Cecil Leemaster’s favorite time on the lake. He’d make his first excursion a few days after Thanksgiving, cruising his bass boat along the resurrected creek channel, following the route of old Highway 7. The late fall drawdown of Cedar Lake by the Corps of Engineers left the twelve mile Burgey’s…

Maxims in Winter

Ida walked the length of her backyard in old tennis shoes, holding a thin sweater tight against her ribs. The dew on the grass made her toes cold. She planted a foot at the edge of the muddy plot she had gardened and leaned in over the garden, trying to find…

Berry Patch

It was not so much that Herbert was gone, although she missed him, but how he’d done it, that bothered Irene. Sometimes she could go a whole day and not think about him, at least not to dwell on it. But her brother John insisted on coming over from Richmond…

Circulation

Booth Chandler still thought of the Issaqueena Star as his newspaper even though he’d long since sold it to the assholes in Virginia—and grown rich and fat in the process. Now he had an opportunity to become some kind of executive with our parent company, which I’d been waiting for him to…

When We Are Clay Again

You were a creature of the highway, a growling ghost with a rib cage visible underneath a thin layer of Tennessee clay-covered fur. You were never mean, but at first you had the ferocity of a buzzing hornet, too afraid to stay in one place. When Grandfather found you by the side of the road, I remember…

Second Coming

I had known all my life the world would end with the new millennium, that Jesus would return and save the faithful and leave the wicked, and that girls who didn’t want to be left behind had better behave. I knew this because my father told me, me and the rest of the congregation at the Little Martha…

Fish and Wildlife

Drew 1957 I was trailing after my father on a path between tall pines, heading back to our cabin at Kentucky Lake. We’d hiked to the bait shop before anybody else had come awake so Daddy could phone Number One. Daddy runs coal mines down in the mountains, and Number…

My Side

It’s taken me four long nights to accept the fact that I don’t have to huddle on the left side of the bed anymore. I can spread out. I can sprawl in the middle. I can leave my light on. I can eat chocolate chip cookies on the duvet, or…

This Must Be the Place

The clouds overhanging the horizon are the color of coal, and beyond that clot of shadows William can see veins of coursing light–but he spares them no thought. For now there is only the pale sky above and the highway like dark and yellow-lined water passing beneath the old convertible as…

Neighborly

A Saturday in autumn, early and quiet. It started simple like that. If it’d been one of her boys I would’ve laughed myself dead, but with Ruth in mind the whole thing seemed more serious somehow. Maybe cause we all knew her so well. We could imagine her coming out for the…