Fiction

The Finisher Barn

We were seven men in dusted T-shirts standing in a flat horizon of layered dead turkeys. When we stepped, their organs crushed under our boots and spread soft and thick. At one time, there had been eight of us in total, all almost-collegegraduates. Stan, in the years before we all…

What Work Is

So up and down I sow them For lads like me to find, When I shall lie below them, A dead man out of mind. —A.E. Housman, A Shropshire Lad, LXIII Randy’s father rattled the classified section and held the paper an arm’s length from his face, squinting as he…

Floods and Fires

Families will not be broken. Curse and expel them, send their children wandering, drown them in floods and fires, and old women will make songs of all these sorrows and sit on the porch and sing them on mild evenings. —Marilynne Robinson, Housekeeping Hap Enders watched as Sheriff Huntley, who…

When You Say “Home”

I’ve got a whole mess of stuff to do today,” Michael’s mother said. He watched her reach up into the hallway closet and pull their big, red suitcase from the top shelf. Michael’s grandmother was being turned out of another nursing home, this one just down Highway 74 towards King’s…

Stalking the White Deer

Dalton stalked the white deer. It became his obsession, like finding that thing and owning it in a hard, bloody way would fill a hole neither of us could name. We were newly married then and him just back from the war. He’d been home about a year, but it…

Canebrakes

Ma first caught me ashing a cigarette off to the side of the old home where the creek rustled through the canebrakes. She said I didn’t teach you to treat yourself like that. She said you always got yourself tied to things that’ll kill you without knowing. She said death…

Luck of the Draw

When the doorbell rang that early January afternoon in 1967, Florene Mullins had just turned on the two table lamps in the living room. The winter day was shading into twilight and shadows pooled in the corners, making her feel blue. She was considering fixing pork chops and fried potatoes…