- The Benevolent Society. Alaska Quarterly Review, 2014.
Becky opens the door to the stable apartment and stands behind it, thinking of herself wishfully as a shadow on the wall, of which nothing is required. For she is not like the charitable ladies who moo at her side. She does not see what they see: a lost soul, an opportunity. Becky sees the devil coming for her, aided by the weak and the unwary. She sees ruin, barely disguised, stepping from the cart into the lamplit room of her soul.
- The Floating Life. The Missouri Review, 2011. Reprinted in 2013 Pushcart Prize Anthology.
We wait. Lisa floats at my side, her blond ponytail fanning out like something alive. Whenever we see a fish, she looks at me as if I could somehow signal her the species name. I just nod. It is so dark and so quiet. Anemones bend in the sea breeze. From down here, everything feels improbable: the red horizon, Dave breathing into a paper bag, our little bobbing ship. Land itself begins to feel improbable. When I think of my sons, they are five and seven, playing in a sandbox, not the disappointing young men I know are out there somewhere, making do.
- Other Wolves on Other Mountains. Mid-American Review, 2010.
Rebecca couldn’t sleep for fear of the wolf. She is our youngest, eleven. The day she arrived she ate an entire pizza; she had walked five hours up the mountain, too scared to hitch.
"What if it gets in the house?" she whispered. The nightlight cast quivering stars on the wall and nearby, in other beds, other girls shifted and sighed.
"That won’t happen," I told her, because if you look for misfortune you will find it.
- The Blind Man Dreamed of a Vestibule. Zahir, 2010.
The blind man had more dreams and the house seethed with dreamed beauty. The stairway became a ladder through the night sky, the bath a wild English garden. The kitchen was transformed into a factory of gold and chrome, where conveyor belts buzzed and metal clinked gently in the night. He waited for new dreams with a child’s eagerness, but he was lonely in such a house after his guests left in the evenings.
- Champlain. Hunger Mountain, 2009. Available online: Champlain.
I, too, was once a child in Lake Champlain, and I know as well as anyone that the water is thick with perils: clammy fingers of lake weed to graze a swimmer’s stomach, caves in which lurk poisonous spiny things, living reef, some say, sharp enough to slice through bone. And there is Champ, curled sleeping, scaly and fanged, with eyes of bloodiest red, in some prehistoric cavern a mile below the tiny knifing glimmers of a child’s body on the surface of the water.
- Boyland. Gulf Coast, 2009. Winner of the 2008 Gulf Coast Prize for Fiction.
The boys sit in a semi-circle of folding chairs. Nick is reminded of family therapy—sitting between his mom and Julian in just such a semi-circle, facing a frizzy city social worker and her unanswerable questions about potential and how do you change a pattern. Fisher and Darryl are roaring and slapping their legs, exchanging glances. Nick can see that they have decided to be allies, and they will be shit-talkers and kiss-ups. Fisher’s the biggest and the oldest at fourteen, laughing at Peppersteak so hard, looking up at Magnificent like he wants a daddy’s love. Peppersteak takes it quietly. His silence flatters him, and Nick considers the merits of this tactic, given the events of the past month.
- The Seven Year Itch. 580 Split, 2006.
Marilyn squeals and her skirt flies up, hem forming an elegant sine wave around her thighs, the peaks and troughs teasing the scientific-minded of her audience—plain-clothes lab assistants concealing their erections in a cool theater, 1955. They want this simpering, swaying shape, this curvaceous screen illusion. They imagine her right here next to them instead of the mousy, bone-ankled secretaries who sit beside them, plunging their hands into the popcorn in hopes of a meeting of fingertips.