In those days, when Layna had not yet learned the art of running, a river cut between gray-green mountains, murmuring fool’s-gold secrets. It lazied along a postal road around which a town grew up, sprouting churches and children who took up shed-building and soap-making. Generations settled, swelled, a supermarket descended, mobile homes squatted. The quiet the destination hikers once so loved gave way to industry’s buzz and hubbub, drowning the river’s secrets, which eddied under a tumbling wooden bridge at the edge of all the noise. And there, on a cul-de-sac, a sturdy ranch house materialized, built by the pub's new manager, who was married to an aspiring preschool teacher. She was expecting....
Excerpt from "Six Things That Stuck" (Forthcoming)
1. How a proper Old Fashioned is not too sweet...
Ink in Thirds: February 2017
Excerpt from "Simple Currency" (Forthcoming)
“What kind of underwear does a god wear?” asked Elaine, adjusting herself beneath him. His hip pinned the edge of her dress. One of his legs drove the silver buckles on her shoe into her ankle.
She could still hear Roxy’s voice, Why you always get the fun ones, girl? Why the fun ones, huh? sending her into the night with an exaggerated kiss blown from ringed and red-lacquered fingers. It was Roxy’s kind of farewell, though her eyes said different things: Looking for trouble, that one, her eyes had said, when he’d pulled down the strip. Looking to die, thought Elaine, when she’d gazed at his face, at his skin and mouth and eyes. They were old eyes, much older than the rest of him...
GNU Journal: January 2017
Excerpt from "The View from the See-Through Part"
When I squint my eyes in hard slits, I see all the things the old man sees. “What’s that?
What’s he doing?”
She goes pat-pat to my back and says, “He’s painting. It’s an easel.”
“Like my one at school?”
“Yes, just like that. Here, your momma’s gonna kill me. Arms up, kiddo.”
Over my head, we take off the nice shirt. Cold bumps go all over my chest. I laugh. The new one smells good. Like home. The old man, he has two shirts on, one with buttons over the other.
“Why he gots two?”
It’s not nice to stare, so I go on the playground and up the slide the wrong way, up, up, all the way to the top. No one can see me, not even her. ....
GNU Journal: January 2017
Excerpt from Stories from the Drylands: A Southern Arizona Climbing Anthology (Preface)
We sat on a stone bench after dinner, clicking away on our keyboards propped in our laps. An evening of writing with my friend. The outdoor corridor was empty and dark. A few lamps lit the Spanish colonial archways. You could hear a dull murmur from the gelato shop. Teenagers on dates, a spattering of older folk. A homogeneous, suburban crowd satisfying the sweet tooth.
It was a tank-and-skirt kind of night, warm and mellow.
My friend heard it before I did. A groaned protest, a woman’s voice. I stopped typing.
No, please. I won’t.
“What is that?” How long had the girl been moaning?
My feminist friend, a proud single mother, a brave, no-nonsense sort of human, stared straight back at me with wide eyes. “What do we do?”
The voice was panting. You can’t make me. I don’t want to.
A man interrupted. Come on. Come on.
The back-and-forth escalated. Minutes passed....
CASA: December 15, 2016
Excerpt from "Undressed, A Portrait"
The jacket is the first thing to go. Turn on the heat, and a good hard hike up two flights of stairs to the classroom makes for two blushed cheeks, and spreading arms pull off the coat—a gift from a love so long ago now you cannot remember whether they preferred you make tea or coffee in the morning....
Gravel: December 4, 2016
Excerpt from "Graduation"
Twelve stories up, I shivered on the roof, clapping my wings tight against the winter air. Moonglow bathed the mountains silver.
Come on. Jump.
The others were already celebrating...
Speculative 66: November 2016
Excerpt from "Sperm Whale" and "Gamegirl"
Cold at ninety feet, even in a wetsuit. No O2. Just a belly of breath and an anchorline descent, hand over hand, into a dark womb of heartbeats. Into a ravaged and abandoned universe...
Speculative 66: September 2016
Excerpt from "Morning on the Shell Trade Route: Aboriginal Potsherd (Exact Origin Unknown)"
You are standing where an earthen vessel shattered and became
the land once dissolved in hungry tongues of basalt
grown still red-black boils roil and burst and freeze
holding form the trajectory of long ago volcanic force.
But not so long ago if you listen.....
The Voices Project: August 21, 2016
Excerpt from "Playing in the Swamp of Always"
“I saw a snake yesterday.” The girl squatted, knees kissed mud.
“I saw a turtle.” The game was ancient, ritual.....
Blink Ink: Magic Issue 2016
Excerpt from "Penning the Nasty/Creed"
I am on my knees at the table's end, pen poised over fresh notebook paper. On the first floor below, the air is a warm muddle of voices in amiable chatter. A woman's jazz alto sashays alongside thehuman hubbub and the mechanical din of barware clink and clatter, and at the door feet clomp in from the cold to shuffle up to the bar beneath the loft where we are learning to write about sex....
FLAPPERHOUSE: Summer 2016
Excerpt from "Father-Daughter Lessons"
Put the tip of your knife in the silvery place where the soft-scaled belly meets tail. Press down. Draw the blade away, not toward. Cleave the meat, and fish out...
Fifty-Word Stories: April 14, 2016
Excerpt from "On Un-Becoming"
“Hello, beautiful one. Would you like to hold him?”
Together we look up, blinding each other with our headlamps, bathing the other in red light. He extends a hand draped in arachnid legs and hair, the creature’s abdomen lean as a new mouse. Dutifully, I’ve identified him. Smaller, skinnier, longer legs, tibial spurs for warding off female fangs during spider sex—and two pedipalp bulbs: He is definitely a he.....
Eastern Iowa Review: May 2015