The Foster Child

They came trooping into my third-grade classroom dressed in red and decorated for the Holidays. Antlers set at action angles, reindeer with blinking noses on thick sweatshirts, and heads weighted with Santa hats. They brought sprinkled cupcakes in lonely plastic modules, fudge in pans crusted on the sides from last month’s party, and off-brand coke and orange soda in extra-large bottles.

Continue reading… "The Foster Child"

Cruise Girls

Kim gazed out the huge windows of Sea View Dining. Outside the cruise ship was blue without borders. No end to its sapphires. The window rose from floor to ceiling and on either side a line of huge, spotless rectangles of glass continued, rimming the expanse of the hall. Behind her on the various food lines was a profusion of cuisines and food displayed. Though she and Jawayne usually ate downstairs with other staff, today they enjoyed privilege—a dining hall meant for guests.

Continue reading… "Cruise Girls"

Grandpa’s House

Grandpa was a hero and a martyr. During the war he fought with the Nazis, was caught by the Gestapo and sent to a concentration camp, where he spent well over two years. When the war was over, he struggled with the Polish communists. This, however, did not prevent him from having a career as he was arguably the best specialist in shipbuilding this side of the Berlin Wall

Continue reading… "Grandpa’s House"

Emergence

Snake fangs appeared in the mirror. Sharp and grizzled white, pointed towards the surrounding emptiness, drawing more from the dark space than the matter it occupied.
The powder room by the kitchen, small and poorly ventilated, smelled acrid, but still vaguely reminiscent of a home cooked meal, not the strictly bathroom smell of piss and shit, but like food that had only just begun to digest, a little too sweet.

Continue reading… "Emergence"

DNR

The first time Aras stumbled into the backyard, drunk and grinning, I didn’t think much of it. He’d no doubt found some hot dick and lost the ability to say no. I looked up and instantly knew the whole story. I’d seen gay men on television. No matter what you are, there’s a show made just for you. The house manager, Luther, had sprung for deluxe cable: movie channels, sports, music, whatever freaky shit TLC slaps on the screen.

Continue reading… "DNR"

Faces

I shift from foot to foot as I wait in line to see the Mona Lisa. The line snakes around the corridor of the second floor of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. My mother and Aunt Regina insist that we must see this wonderful painting. Helen holds my hand and tells me that Leonardo da Vinci was one of the greatest painters who ever lived. I’m bored, but I pretend to be interested. Helen is very serious when she explains things.

Continue reading… "Faces"

Elephant Shoe

They stopped for gas and lunch and to clean the windshield. The pump was in front of a bar called the Hitching Post in the town of Melrose. It was cold and the air from the Jeep’s heater had been getting cooler and cooler and Jack had three theories. One, there was a new air bubble in the heater core. Two, the core itself was bad and filling with rust as fast as he could flush it out. It wouldn’t be long before he needed to

Continue reading… "Elephant Shoe"

Lifespan

Morris Louis lived from 1912 to 1962, a life that spanned two World Wars, a war on drugs, a war on love, a war on fruitcake, and a war on the abstract expressionists. Morris Louis painted in drips, thinning his paint and letting it run in rivulets down the canvas, pooling into a muddy brown on the drop cloth. It can have the effect of looking accidental. He is generally considered to be in the school of My Child Could Paint That.

Continue reading… "Lifespan"

A Little God in my Coffee

God dropped by last Tuesday morning, sat right down at my kitchen table, introduced Himself, and asked if I wanted to have coffee and some conversation. Believe me, I was thrilled He decided to come to my apartment, but all I could think about was why didn’t He remember that I don’t drink coffee. Perhaps God was using it in that generic way – let’s meet and have something to drink.

Continue reading… "A Little God in my Coffee"

Alamogordo

When the Santa Fe River ran again, it took nearly a week to wash away all the footprints in its sandy bed. By this time the cottonwoods were greening into their impossible lime, the color of those tight tank tops the high school girls wear even when it’s cold. Up by the Los Alamos labs, where I commute to keep those atoms safely splitting for America, the trees are dying of drought and bark beetle. So I notice the green in the Santa Fe

Continue reading… "Alamogordo"