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Honor Thy Mother

Snow is falling and Agnes is sure she can hear it as it whispers through the air and lands with the softest of sighs on tree branches, cars, outdoor furniture, and the ground with its already-deposited layer of flakes. She loves how it looks, loves that there is a season that can be relied upon. […]


Driving With Ghosts

During the summer when I was seventeen, I saw my first ghost. I had left a friend’s party, drunk not to oblivion, but to a point where the world seemed softer at its edges; a world that could be bended, folded to my desires; it was a world that held no grudges against me and, […]


The Whalers Song

Sebjørn squinted against the pale light of the midnight sun. The sky was cloudless. There was no wind. Save for where it frothed against the hull of the Höðr, splitting around them into a wide V of wake, the sea was still, and vacant. It was so quiet that Sebjørn had become aware of the […]


Sleeping in Metal and Bone

It is summer the first time I dream of hooks at the end of my fingers. The cold metal buried in the soft tissue and then curving outward into a small, delicate point. How I creep through the shadowed damp of our backyard, the odor of soil rich and deep as I hunt through the […]


The Longest Night

The longest night of the year crept towards them from the Arctic, whose southern border lay just across the sea from the village of Fiskurfjörður, where Birta had lived all her life. At this time of year, gold light snuck up from behind the northern mountains at noon, lighting the ice-frozen road, then disappeared, pallid […]


Some Sketches of Country Life

1. Commerce with Children The stick is our first best friend. Clutched like hands, sticks are the most constant of companions to tots as well as bigger boys and girls. A stick is a weapon, a guide, an aid to walking, a pointer, a building material, a javelin—and more. Sticks obey our commands and adapt […]


Thin Cold Hands

Though it’s a long time since I’ve lived in a house, I still have memories about what that used to be like which work on me constantly, mainly subconsciously. When I dream, I open a door into a composite domicile cobbled together from bits and pieces of all the houses my parents passed through during […]


Otto Hahn Speaks to the Dead

A garden is a beautiful place to die. It was the only beautiful thing about Clara’s death, which otherwise was a bullet and a broken chest, blood spilling over everything, the red scent of iron. Had he been there, he might have vomited. Only might, because the revulsion he felt for death had lessened a […]

Listen Read

Casualty of Peace

It’s Sunday, and we’re drawing lots in the church hall. The vicar calls them straws, but really they’re only strips of paper. He shows them, each time, before we start: most are longer than his middle finger, a few—two, three, never more than six—are shorter than his thumb. Today, three are short. He fans the […]


Escaping Dr. Markoff

You love Dr. Markoff. You have always loved Dr. Markoff, even before the film began. He is unlike any man you have ever met. Have you met many other men? It is so difficult to remember. His hair is black as jet. His eyes are as deep as night. When he speaks in his low […]