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CategoryFiction

 

A Matter of Being

Hair “Mastectomy?” Joe, my husband of forty-four years, says robotically. Dr. Robeson, the oncologist, describes to Joe how my breast cancer works, and I watch as Joe tries to uphold his Baptist deacon stature. I remember the day he said, “I do,” there was a similar wave of stiff astonishment …

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Birdboy

After you were made, the Earth requested your mother’s body. Your father said, “She never heard you cry twice”—and, though this never fell from his mouth, you could hear it clearly in the silence that followed—”You killed her. You took her from me.” Maybe it is why he named you …

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A Girl Walks Through a Mirror

On the last day of the shoot, she appears in just one scene, which might more accurately be referred to as a transition—a CGI bridge between reality and the Shapeshifter’s Lair, as the script describes it. Her role in this scene is considered central, for her character (a peculiar girl …

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A Girl Never Dies

It might be more appropriate to say that she dies a million times—each time in a different way or at a different point in her life. When she first realizes this is happening, she’s fifteen years old, a sophomore in high school, walking home with her best friend Vanessa after …

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Pretty Knotte

This evening I had a conversation with the editor—I will call her Jan—of a small but reasonably prestigious literary journal on the West Coast. At the time of this writing, I’m just a few months past my fiftieth birthday. A little Googling leads me to believe that Jan is in …

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Shelf Space

By the time I got down there, there were so many empty shelves in the Cape Coral house it looked like some beachy gift shop in foreclosure. My parents always planned to do Florida for retirement: a golf course, drives to the beach, Dine-N-Dance nights. Dad was fifty-five when he …

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Key Change

Buddy drives and I ride shotgun. We ride in a ramshackle van with busted fenders and peeling paint, the kind of vehicle that inspires parents to hold their kids tight when it staggers too close on the street. We are driving up the coast and the ocean is wide and …

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If We Clean, We Clean Each Other

You did an admirable job trying to hide your surprise when you opened the door and saw me standing there; most people blinked and glared or smiled too widely, looking like they’d lost their minds and were thinking of all the ways they’d like to murder me. But despite your …

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Enclosure

The howl spilled into the library. Through the window, it swept the stacks like fog, spreading along the floor before lifting to the ceiling. Two younger men looked at each other. They laughed nervously. An older woman with no chin sat at one of the computers and slowly typed how …

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Goodbye, Annie

It was too hot to be out, but no one complained because our good friend Annie was dead and we didn’t know how to talk about it. We sipped tall cans of sweet tea and ate unshelled peanuts, tossing their crepey husks in a vacant clay pot that once held …

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