bor i New York. Har gitt ut boka Back Tuck
. Har blitt publisert i bl.a Artifice Magazine
, The Lifted Brow
og American Short Fiction
____________________________________________________________________A PARADE OF FUTURES
The men left during the last winter in anyone's memory. Between bad fortune, winter that wouldn't quit, a flu that struck all the teenager's dead, we had become a desperate, cold community of very young children and very scared adults. The men felt sure that good fortune was somewhere beyond our small town, past the horizon, among people and places we did not know yet but might, someday. There was a frost that morning, just twelve hours after the meeting where we decided: stay, and die, or leave, and try. We considered ourselves a trying people. No one can remember a failure on record. But in the months since we've seen winter, I wonder if we are also a lying people, one bent on recording our strengths and forgetting our weakness, the messiness of our mistakes. The men left in a slow-moving herd, trudging through town early in the morning, while we, wives and daughters and sisters and much younger brothers, lined the second- story walkways on Main Street. We dropped flowers and scarves, hats, mittens, gloves, and kisses, shouts of encouragement, anything we could think of that the men might need In the months following, the general store owner’s wife stood behind the counter, stoic in a stiff pair of overalls. The teachers taught our children, making sure to remind them that our town was once half men. The butcher left his business to his sisters, a wild, red-haired trio who never married. One of them sold us meat and the other two stayed in back with the knives. The snow melted in a rush, one that we watched silently, all of us gathering on the walkways again but hushed this time. Streams jetted down Main Street. The water rose, by the inch at first, then, by the foot. At dawn, we checked to make sure everyone was up above, on Main Street's second story. Our Main Street ravaged by the flood, we had no chance but to change ourselves in turn. We stopped recounting the men and guessing at their return. Instead, we fortified ourselves. We guarded our sons firmly, sending our daughters out on errands instead. A son was worth more than a sum could speak. We looked down at their small heads, above shoulders that would widen, and remembered their fathers in fast-fading twinges. Someday, our sons would provide a future. Meanwhile, summer's onset was hard and quick, the sun blistering to its stance each day after the floods subsided. Mornings boiled over a hundred degrees and refused to let up. Everyone knows heat rises, but we refused to move downstairs into the businesses our men had built on Main Street, the windows they'd passed on their way out of town. We smarted from the two failures too freshly. We, especially as all women, were a proud people. Upstairs, we languished, took naps, sent our daughters out to make trades: a mended skirt for fresh rolls, eggs for the reddest tomatoes on a secreted vine, a last precious book for a sack of flour. Our sons, we kept inside and taught to sing. In our silent record, summer has stretched on over a year now. And still, no sign of the men. Walk to the end of Main Street, shield your eyes from the sun, and squint off into the distance. You'll glimpse only desert in all directions, the cruelest horizon, just as we have. Blink all you want but blinking won't alter the view. We know the line between sand and sky well. Our sons, shielded, dissolve into innocence more with each passing day. Daughters born the same year have crows’ feet and have become crafty, elusive. If we ask them to go to the neighbors' for two cups of flour, they often return with one. Evenings are tense, the daughters listening just as we are, for the boys’ voices to suddenly crack and break with growth. The sons, innocent as always, know nothing, and sing on. The flood, that cold frost the morning the men left, the minutes we gathered and poured our energy and small belongings onto the street, those moments have grown hollow, as if dried out by the sun. The future stretches out before me like an explosion, for I know the aging of the boys will not go lightly. I feel it in the building energy of each hot afternoon, behind the closed doors of each woman's second story home. Despite the heat, sons grow taller all the time. Manhood will thunder them with consuming brutality, and we as a people, remaindered as women and these sudden men, will frozen for a moment, blind to all fortune, good or bad.