Opportunity

“How ‘bout you give me the name of Walker’s ship?” “Specify: Walker, Dorian; Walker, Belle; or Walker—?” “Dorian, ‘course.” “Dorian Course not found.” “No—listen, here. Fix your shit. Tell me the name of Dorian Walker’s ship.” “Request confirmed. Specify star date.” “Alright. Okay. I ken your drill. Tell me the name of the ship from

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 cognizant of 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 rounded, impossible little pyramids. She counts spare cylinders of

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,

Breaking the Silence: Part II

Continued from "Breaking the Silence: Part I." Later, on a pilgrimage to reconnect with high-school friends, I visited Montreal. We were freshmen, giddy with the prospect of drinking and dancing, and flush with hormones and history. We played drinking games while watching Dubya declare war, and after we’d washed away our cultural distaste, we filed

Breaking the Silence: Part I

For many of us, violence exists as an abstraction. It’s a well-choreographed fight scene, a clean bullet wound, a statistic. We see violence as something confined to warzones, low-income housing, and dark alleys, or that it’s only exacted upon people who have done something wrong, to people who are “different” than we are. We believe

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.  

Anger Management

“You’re two apologies short of an anger management problem,” she says, folding hands with chewed nails into the v of her lap. I mimic, adopt a placating posture, explain—I don’t get angry. I avoid confrontation, use the restroom two floors down to eschew through-stall conversations, take the stairs rather than risk the possibility of an

Our Lady of Praying Through It

I first noticed the sign while driving a trunk full of groceries back to the house. I’d managed a particularly frustrating day at work, as you do, and then braved the rush hour crush of supermarket shoppers in the death-trap Kroger parking lot. The prospect of a relaxed evening—laps full of cats, video games, a

Be Heard

When I was a young mischief-maker, my mother took me to the polls. It didn’t matter whether it was a local, state, or federal election—we waited in lines and filed into the red, white, and blue striped voting booths together. Sometimes, if I happened to be very lucky, one of the poll attendants would indulgently

Asking For It

The sun hasn’t come up yet. A young woman briefly checks the weather on her mobile phone, notes the unseasonably warm temperatures predicted for the afternoon, and selects a summery dress from her closet. She hurriedly finishes her morning ablutions, fills an aluminum tumbler with coffee, forgets to snag her pre-packed lunch from the refrigerator,