Light as a

She stared cross-eyed at the duratyne feather her claws held aloft. It was short for a secondary, but long enough that she could lay it across her armored forearm and link her elbow and wrist. The tip was broad, the body wide—these were the pinions that locked tightly during flight, formed the airfoil and generated

The Osprey

The osprey understands the physics of falling feet-first—talons snatching at soft bellies shifting beneath the murky surface—and emerging with nothing save a spray of salt. Mottled wings row a steady beat, breaking the shallows’ grasp and carving a tight trajectory clear into the clouds. Its ochre eyes sight a second flicker of shadowed water. Later,

Reunion

She leaned back on her elbows, kicking a branch into the fire with the heel of her boot. The flames protested briefly, coughing and sputtering on the damp wood, but slowly licked their way back into a crackling cone. The damp hadn’t quite crept through the thick cloak she’d laid out onto the packed snow,

Dead Letters

Every December I carefully address cards to my extended geography,  scribe canned sentiments trying to recall faces, discern whether familial patronymics are appropriate and realize I can't remember names, new children, wonder if I'll ever meet them or if I care to, if this ritual still invokes the belonging I require knowing persons missed most are already

I am salt water

When I step off the floating dock into the dragon boat, a clammy band of anxiety cinches my chest. The boat sways precariously as my teammates hop in and adjust themselves, easing their weight to the rails. I white knuckle my paddle, focusing on drums sounding over the water. A moment later, I identify my

Like Stones

Sometimes when it's dark and the quiet rises like a solemn ghost, I hear my heart thudding past the whisper of my breath, feel my ovaries like stones, weighing my belly with useless potential, and if I cross-examine the moment, brush too close to the seat of my anxiety, my lungs swell against my ribs.

A Voice

When I say that I haven’t written anything since my grandfather died, I don’t want to give you the wrong impression. I am not emotionally crippled. His death and my dog’s subsequent euthanasia didn’t dry up some supernatural creative well. I’m exhausted, maybe, but being “too tired” seems a poor excuse for laziness. Part of

The Peabody

“Do you know where the phrase ‘blood is thicker than water’ comes from?” my friend asks. We’re staggering up the massive slope of a dune, ground shifting beneath each step. Sand sieves through the mesh lining of my running shoes, entombing my feet. “No,” I admit, bracing my palms against my quads. My friend isn’t

Frost

Sorina watched one of the dwarf’s gnarled hands come to an uneasy rest on the heavy hammer suspended from his belt. The other meaty paw white-knuckled the handle of a massive tankard still resting on the bar. She made a point of slowly unfastening the leather baldric that secured her runeblade to her back, carefully propping

Exposure

Leaf peepers, those voyeurs of dappled death,  perverts accoutered with disposable cameras, deviants hoping for a bared glimpse of a rouged  maple or slender birch paling by the roadside. They delight in nature's subtle malevolence, the slow turn of chlorophyll unrenewed, the brilliant rigor mortis of carotenoids, anthocyanins: a deciduous lividity. Always, they depart before

Clowder

When the last cat is chloroformed, and we swallow the frightened cries, steal the rumbles from their throats; when we bare our teeth over the pinned bodies, hold the warm hearts in our hands; when we draw sanguine whiskers with scalpels and slowly shed our clothes, stalk the halls wearing their matted coats, and we forget

Sleepwaking

Misfirings begin at dusk. Already she’s intimate with the minute hand marching forward, announcing the triumph of a second passing, her skull buzzing with six thousand anxious insects. There’s no time. She upends bottles of water into her bromeliads, refolds rows of clothes, piles Tums in little pyramids. She counts spare cylinders of Chapstick, teeters on

Solicitude

Before it rains, a low-pressure system swirls beneath my patella and slips slowly past my internal Coriolis back into pure atmosphere. Before it rains, I feel the aching damp, a catch in each unhurried step – umbrella spines briefly declining to align before reaching an understanding. Before it rains, I carry this interminable gray sky,

Valentine

At precisely 6:14 p.m., a key turns in a door. As it opens, a slice of fluorescent brilliance knifes into a twilit room, illuminating a white cat. The innocuous bundle of fluff remains impassive until the person attached to the key strides into the isosceles light and pushes the door shut. Locks it. “Miao,” the

In Just Spring

When the weather is just warm enough, I pass streams of school children spooling around sidewalk bends. They run as part of some morning PE ritual, following the long concrete path from school to street to orange cone. This cone marks a half-mile halfway point, seems to signal, we are in the home stretch.