Fiction

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…

Probation

Maggie Boylan sat in her place and glared at the judge as hard a glare as she dared to give. But her glare was nothing to him. He kept his eyes on the papers laid out on the bench and he nodded as the lawyers—her lawyer on one side and…

Chicken Shit Pistol

Sure, I’d always wanted a sister, but not this one. I was reading about Great Blue whales, trying to focus, but all I could think about was it would be inconvenient to kill her. Murder was out. I was pretty sure it would screw my chances of getting into college.