From Modern Mythcraft to Magical Surrealism




The crows dove from the pregnant summer sky, sleek and hungry. Ballard hadn’t fed them in a week. I know — I used to be his apprentice. His birds dug their claws into the limestone and glass of Rite Company Shackles, 899 Louisiana Street, Houston, Texas 77002, which this morning became a subsidiary of HOLY […]


It’s almost dark. My daughter is sitting outside, the bundle still and silent in her arms. The singing voices out on the water are moving, sad fiddles calling out like broken birds. They’re coming here. I never imagined them returning. They’re drifting through the dark and fog, toward the shore. She’s waiting for them. * […]

Notes on the Untimely Death of Ronia Drake

1. The last sound she heard was water. It bubbled and flowed from the masses of decaying snow piles, slicked the path and fanned into the spongy turf and sleeping grass. Bits of puddle splashed up on her white socks and white and red legs—a spangle of gray salt drips curving up to the knee. […]

Painting Walls in the Town of N—

My boyfriend felt an immediate kinship with the town of N—, even with our having arrived three days later than intended due to the winding, tree-wrapped roads that had been freshly redrawn with a shiny coat of ice. I think this affinity may have had something to do with the very namelessness of the place. […]

Time to Say Goodnight

“Then Duck left Mr. Tomkin’s farm and went to swim in Glacier Lake, just like he’d always wanted.” Mommy looked up from the last page, but Clara wasn’t sleeping. “And then what did Duck do?” Clara asked. “That’s all there is.” “Duck died?” Mommy had explained about dying on the way home from visiting Grandpa. […]

As Soon as Summer

“Take me falling down,” she said and I reached, two hands, two old hands, older than yesterday the day before. We tumbled downward, onward, hill of green and grass, blades so sharp, the wind. The sun burns down. Flowers. Only the jasmine comes forth in the dark. * * * “Take me falling down,” she […]

The Promise

The story is an old one. Old as dirt, shit, blood, sleep, fire. Old before anyone set voice to it, set pen to it, aimed wanderers’ tongues and toes toward its reconnaissance. It digs deep, sinks its roots deep, drinks deep. It goes back and back and back. You say you know it already. True, […]

The Comb

People always say stories are true stories, and I suppose they believe it, often enough; this one, though, is true—true as true can be, as my mother used to say. Cross my heart and hope to die, a child says. They do, in the end, all hope to die. Nobody wants to be the moon’s […]


Emma hugged her clipboard and breathed a mouthful of rush-hour exhaust wafting off the rumble of I-35. She eyed the stairs through the hazy morning sun. Three flights of steel-bound concrete steps. Insipid cornflower blue hand-rail. She’d seen a lot of places like this in her forty-eight years. Why anyone would want to spend eternity […]

Firing the Dead

The pots tick softly as they cool. I can hear them under the rise and fall of the priest’s blessings and invocations. The pots are arranged by size at the front of the church, grey dabs on the bright white of the altar cloth, with a smoked-glass urn standing at the back of the altar […]