Fiction

This is the way of the wonder ones into the world,   like the rounds of round stones mouthed by the sea,   molded by passage, curled in the blue-white foam at the edge of their coming through.

My father was a great storyteller, and when my two brothers and I were growing up, he would spin out one tale after another. As a little kid, my favorite was “Skinny Melinny, the Fish Who Lived Under the Sea.”

In Vietnam, there is a green bamboo viper. Marines call it “One-Step.” It bites. You take one step. You’re dead.

Every summer from the time I was 6, I was able to escape the horror of life with my mother and stepfather in Tennessee and visit my dad and Gail, his new girlfriend. He had an apartment in Gramercy Park in the city — New York — and a house in Montauk, at the very tip of Long Island. There was a great lighthouse there, built in the late 1700s.

I am 10 years old, trapped in chubby latency. My father has just picked me up from my grandmother’s house, where I spend every other weekend, to drive me to Sunday school. I am excited because he lets me sit in the front seat with him. This would never happen with my mother there. She says children should never sit up front because if the car...

I’ve survived long enough to remember a time when we all wanted a little personal space, maybe even cherished it, at least here in the city. The too-crowded subways, tight elevators, clustered workspaces, even in the outdoors where it was supposed to feel open, we’d be swept in the undercurrent of bodies moving like a tide up and down the...

The abandoned carport at the end of Ray Howell’s long, snaking driveway was hard to miss. Beneath the flimsy canvas roof, the overgrown grass between the two dirt tire ruts stood waist high, bending in the high desert breeze like a Mohawk haircut gone wrong.

I sit mesmerized by Lillian Board on our small black-and-white TV. She’s just won the 400-meters race in Los Angeles and I’m in love; she’s the most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen. “Aw naw, Johnny!” Mum looks...

It was the sultry summer of ’66. Kelsey had the car of cars. A German job, ’63 Daimler convertible, low-slung, shiny, hot, fiberglass, custom, khaki grey. We’d been dating three months.

He was a shortcut kind of guy; living on the edge. But that’s what made him so attractive. A kind of mystery man.

There is a small metal organizer smack in the middle of my late husband’s desk, a slotted divider probably meant for envelopes, notepads, and such. Gene used it for storing the free return-address labels we got from Amnesty International and various other good causes. The kind we rarely needed anymore because we paid our bills online. He also...

Blanket Sleeper Feet I hear them running down the hall as if it were yesterday. The brushing sound of little feet against the ceramic floor, running to see what Santa left, running to find the Easter Bunny treats. Early in the morning, eyes groggy...

Michael was describing where he’d found the figurine when a shout from the upstairs startled us. “Boys, what’s going on?” said the skinny man who was now in the living room, a beer bottle in his hand. It was 2 p.m., but it was dark inside the house, all of the surfaces occupied by catalogs and remotes and broken pencils and T-shirts, the air...