Fiction

Still Life in Townsend

1. Stevie Gibson never did like the picture, but she never did take it down. A dead pheasant still fully feathered, a bowl of oranges, a green glass goblet of wine, and an hourglass were arranged upon a pale tablecloth of folds and wrinkles, all against a shadowed background. She…

Fall

The cliff stood before them, their necks turned up, looking upon the seventy feet of tan rock with black iron veins splaying about the stone. It’s about confidence, Lars had told her. If you have confidence that you won’t fall, then you won’t fall. The girl reached over and played…

Jude

The only thing of mine to survive the fire was a picture of Holly Hobbie Mommy made before Jude was born, her belly swollen as she stood in her sister’s kitchen. Her hair was cut in a shag like Jane Fonda’s in the picture on the Frigidaire, but frosted. Her long-sleeved oxford shirt, a man’s going-to-church-shirt, hung…

Lost in the Flood

Zachary’s mother spent all morning on Mrs. Crawford’s hair and that evening they laid her out in the viewing room for the mourners to pass by. People complemented his father on the fabricated vitality in her cheeks, the shine of life painted on the cold skin. Zachary stood by listening as long as he was able, then sat…

Fault Lines

Randall is moving away from his living wife. With the reckless, innocent grace of a liberated animal he scrambles toe-and-hands up the face of a huge rock; this must be Africa because none of the trees look right. The two boys are little and hold onto her hands, watching their father. When he straddles the top Randall turns…

Queen

In her memory, the hive sat in the side yard, echoing family rituals and routines. Summer mornings, workers would swarm the basil plant on the porch. They bothered no one—not even Dale, whose deck chair always sat close by. Maisy could scarcely think of when she had ever been stung…

Blue Kentucky Girl

Named for the moon. Little Luna. Luna, blue. The details surrounding your birth are murky, some say 1878, others say a decade later, but why squabble over a handful of years? What’s most clear is that by the time you were born in eastern Kentucky, people had settled into its…

Watersmeet

There’s a ridge I need to climb ever since Toadman died. He loved toads. Got his nickname that way. Always hanging out with them and brushing the splotches on their backs like the splotches were grey pools of lily pad hair. Toadman and I biked and walked to every creek…

Foundered

“Someday you’ll be dead and everyone else can eat,” Iris said, after Floyd took the last of the mashed potatoes without asking if anyone wanted more. “Don’t nod your head at me like that. I know what you’re thinking.” “Shut up or I’ll kick you into the living room,” he…