"I Love My Wife!" -- a chapter from my novel-in-progress, The Sweet, Sad Songs of W. F. Pine, forthcoming in Ecotone
Despite the protests of his neighbors, despite the counsel of his pastor, despite the stories he knew were told in town, John and the boys accepted no visitors all the days the ice melted and soaked through everything—warping the corner piece and the linen chest and the sewing machine cabinet and the writing desk, warping the very table on which Alma lay. They lived in isolation, but for the Trimble girl—who, after getting word from her nearest neighbor, set up a washtub on the far side of the barn (where John Pine wouldn’t see her) so she could tend to the reeking bedclothes someone had tossed into the yard. And they lived in silence, but for the sound of water dripping—from the table or desk or cabinet to the sodden floorboards, from the sodden floorboards to the stone cellar below. All those days, John Pine forbade his boys to answer the door when Ida Brennerman knocked or the pastor stood in the yard shouting, “Anybody home?”
"Dinero" -- The Manhattan Literary Review
Jackson shifted foot to foot. He said something to the girl in a quiet voice. Maybe he told her to stay in the kitchen, because that’s what she did. I could hear a chair screeching up to my mother’s table. Then Jackson came on in, walking that way he walks, like a cat in the shadows. He sat down beside me, close beside me, his knees poking through the white threads of his jeans. He brought with him his suede-jacket smell I hadn’t smelled in so long and something else, something like burned almonds. He said nothing for the longest time.
"Pity My Simplicity" -- an excerpt from The Sweet, Sad Songs of W. F. Pine, Prairie Schooner
Some eight miles north of the Pine farm, Dr. Peary is failing to deliver a baby. He kneels on Orla Hay's bed, giving the forceps one last try. They are ten hours into this -- Orla and the doctor, Orla's sister and the neighbor woman. Ten hours without breakfast (he thought the delivery'd be quick: it is Orla Hay's sixth), and the doctor's tired and hungry and ready for this baby to be born. But the baby lies crosswise, and though the doctor tries, he cannot gain purchase on its head.
"Light of Things" -- Northwest Review and Organica
She liked the fire I'd built from paper and damp tinder. She liked it and turned toward it, not for warmth like anyone would, but to see, to see what she could see.
"Beulah, Hazel, Lillian, Ruth" -- StoryQuarterly and The American Story: The Best of StoryQuarterly
I'll tell you that I didn't much care what the interior of this place was like. It was broom-clean, and that was good enough for me. All I wanted was for it to be some place different. I thought this as the woman who managed the property walked me through the rooms. As I sized up the rooms and the woman sized up me, I thought I didn't care that I'd owe this place to a Mrs. something with a d who died one day.
"Civil Defense" -- Blue Light, Red Light
It was one of his stay-home days, so they came to him and right away. That meant walking, and fast, for their mother stayed home too and didn't drive on his sick days.
"Pink Is Sitting in Blue" -- Organica
It seemed such a careless pleasure, to take a boat, to sit in my mother's lap and watch the changing colors of the water. "Cheap thrill," I remember my mother saying. She meant, I think, the price, the one nickel it cost for two to ride if she carried me in her arms through the turnstile. And maybe she meant everything else, the oily salty smell of things, the foreign sounds of engines and bellows, the air and open spaces she always said I never got enough of.
"Black Light" -- Organica
It was the end of summer when Jackson threw a party and everyone came, or everyone who lived where we lived anyway. It was a Saturday at the end of summer, and all day we did Saturday things, like leaving the backdoor open so cats, ours and others', ran in and out, and the sounds--of our neighbors, of all the other people who lived in the building--wandered in and out with the cats.
"Quiet and Listening" -- The Malahat Review
He called himself Rudy & Otto. Or at least that's what his sign said. He was Rudy and his dummy was Otto, and I saw them every time I rode the ferry. I watched for him, the boy ventriliquist with his dummy on his knee and his suitcase open on the floor, coins collecting on the green velvet lining.