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Fiction

Her Bones the Trees

The sleepwalking woman stepped from her dream of the apple and the bear and the rose. She stepped into a seam of light that split her head in two, a beaming noise that siren-circled between her ears, a stutter in the speech of the world. A curtain pulled back. Applause, applause. Their faces were smooth, […]

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Wilderling

The kid appeared on the first of May. LP was in the kitchen, doing the dishes in desultory fashion, cursing Kurt’s refusal to shell out for a dishwasher (“Already got one and she cooks too,” accompanied by a slap on the ass was his standard reply), and staring at the overgrown foliage of the back […]

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My House Is Out Where the Lights End

Jay approaches the old farmhouse with her sunglasses and the radio off. She wants to see it and hear it clearly. In her memory it looms so huge, so loud and technicolor, that she’s sure she’ll be overwhelmed by it. But it’s been abandoned for years now, and the bright painted boards are faded and […]

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Seventy-Seven

(translated by David Bowles) August 1995. Independencia, Santiago de Chile. She knew every noise in the house. The lethargic creaking of the pipes during the night, that constant tapping of plum tree branches in the backyard, the beams of the terrace swelling with temperature changes, the window frames when touched by the first rays of […]

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Children of Air

And it is but a child of air That lingers in the garden there. —Robert Louis Stevenson Welcome to the park. There is a path from the sidewalk through the close-cropped grass, a white marble fountain with seven slender bronze swans that shoot water from their beaks, and a bench inside a small green marble […]

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An Open Coffin

General Estiano hired me to take care of the body, but he avoids speaking to me. The only times we did talk was by telephone, when he insisted that this job would require my full attention and care. “A family matter,” he said, “I’m sure you will understand.” What awaited me in the front room […]

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The Body is Concentrated Ground

When Hettie exploded, it was an experience. The first time she blew up I was unprepared. She had been withdrawn all morning and the evening before. As her face changed through its colors—rust, then red, then a blood-bruise color we called more-low in a play on domestic wine and the sad sacks who drink it—I […]

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Modern Science

“Trust the process, young man! Structure. Stricture. All things that bind concentrate the essence.” Doctor Bermuda steepled his hands, leaned forward over the desk. The patient man stared, with a mixture of horror and fascination, at the Doctor’s fingers—short and brutally squared-off as if someone had been at them with a pair of bolt-croppers, stained […]

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Here and There

Nola Poterri built her first bridge with alphabet blocks, and so discovered her life’s calling. She built bridge after bridge and sat back on her legs and studied the bridges. “It’s unusual,” her mother said. Her father merely watched. They didn’t know if this was a phase, or if they were reading into it, or […]

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After Life

This time, he thinks before he opens his eyes, this time he’s made it to Duat. For a moment too, he almost believes it. There is the scent of the goddess’ perfume melting slowly over her head. There is the desert grit that coats his face before it is carefully wiped away. And the priest’s […]

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