Stories & Poems

Excerpt from "Mudbelly" (Forthcoming)

    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 ThirdsFebruary 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 JournalJanuary 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 JournalJanuary 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....

CASADecember 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 66November 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 ProjectAugust 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 InkMagic 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....

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 StoriesApril 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.....

Excerpt from "Into This Being Here"

    Last night, while you slept, steam still curling from the teacup on your nightstand, we moved in the stillness that had descended upon the trail....
The Chattahoochee ReviewFall/Winter 2014 Special Issue: Skin

Excerpt from "Reentry Meditation"

She stands in the grove, in the pecan tree’s shadow, looks up – there the nest and there the silent crow. A slice of the first quarter moon sifts through black branches. And above, through the bruisy blue, through those gray and yellow cliffs and caves of clouds: moonslip and sink and sunder...
Black Heart MagazineApril 8, 2014

Excerpt from "Calling Rain"
Four minutes and twenty-two seconds later, the park has emptied completely. In the grass, puddles spring up like ant colonies, silent and teeming. I watch you lift your white skirt to your thighs as you wade in under beckoning palm trees, the sky receding for you, so that your face drinks up the darkening clouds and grows indistinct behind a haze of rain. I have waited a long time for your smile, and for this moment that has neither beginning nor end, as is the way with all healings--but simple too, like a single drop of rain aloft in the air.
A cappella Zoo: Best of Zoo '13 "Bestiary" & Issue 3

Excerpt from "UAV Pilot"
A slender shaft flies silver through the sky,
sunward climbing, unmanned, stern
the thoughtless and inhuman-minded eye--
glances at the stucco-huts in turn,
looking for an unmanned one to burn ...
Gemini Magazine: May 2012 

Excerpt from "A Time to Live"
The old buss trundled away from the church, south, south, until it looked like a tiny white cloud and then just a little puff of something vague and solid in the distance. Summer afternoon rose up around the chugging bus on the narrow two-lane mountain roads: curtains of shining green shot through with blinding sunlight. They sat together in the back, two white-faced sardines sandwiched by their duffel bags. Kyla had round knees and slender arms and long fingers and short, pink nails. Right now, she was carsick. Tara was currently holding in a scream that bubbled up silently, manifested as tears, bright, jewel-like things that clung to the end of her chin when they slipped down her cheeks. Kyla, poor, dear, wonderful carsick Kyla, reached up to wipe them as they fell.
Existere: Issue 14 
Excerpt from "Pilgrimage"
    I never pass through Oak Ridge without visiting the old house. I invent excuses, hairdresser and nail appointments, implausible runs to the grocery store. I point to yard sale signs in nearby neighborhoods from which I can steal away on foot, or I grope in my purse for wads of bills and push them at my two children. “Daddy will buy you ice cream,” I say and ruffle heads dusted with downy hair.
    They love Oak Ridge. They know something will happen as soon as they cross through the tunnel. And they all yell tunnulllh in their childish voices, my husband grinning at me, as the lights strobe away behind us. The sun gets bigger and wider ahead, and I have trouble breathing.
damselfly press: Issue 14
Excerpt from "Involved Bending"
    Jane Barrett hums while she leans over the chicken cages, scrubbing white chalky circles until they thin and vanish into the cloth. She catches herself in mid-tune. Humming. While cleaning chicken shit...
    [She] has scoured the house today; washed, dried, and folded four loads of laundry; vacuumed and swept every square inch. Bathrooms, kitchen sinks, counters, mirrors, bookshelves, wall sconces, windows, coffee tables, stairway railings, and wine glasses are shining, gleaming. She has deep-cleaned the upholstery.
    Brynn Rosaline Church will arrive soon.
    Jane knots the cloth in her hand and starts humming again. In earnest. Quite badly. The notes come out sharp and flat and she grits her teeth as she grabs the water hose and sprays down the coop.
The Cadaverine: Dec 15, 2010

Excerpt from "Silhouettes and Shadows"

    My father sits by the window, staring off. There is not much to see through the glass: a flat gray wall full of flat gray windows; below, a flat, cracked gray street that smells of beer, sweat and urine. After it rains, it smells of the Mississippi and sometimes of flowers. If a young woman and her small son happen to pass by with groceries, there is the warm, yeasty smell of fresh bread.
    But the window is closed, and so there is only gray--no bread and no flowers.
My father is a minister. He has lived here most of his life. That is, when he was not overseas during the war. That was before my time.
    The gray wall is a gray cloud exploding with fire and smoke and human souls.

Two-Bit Magazine: Issue 1

Excerpt from "A Childhood Sestina"

You're mixing dirt and water, making mud,
and watching insects climb in narrow patterns
the peaks and valleys of your toes and fingers,
with which you're preparing to gather a handful
of wet dirt to slop over them and watch the scattering
of biting red bodies with cool interest.

Antique Children: March 9, 2010

Excerpt from "Very High Up"

    Friday morning, eight o'clock: Sign in, PT. Nine thirty: burrito. Ten o'clock: home.
    She was barefoot on the roof with a huge pair of clippers, de-limbing the mesquite whose branches had been left by the landlord to their own wiles and had pulled up a handful of shingles on the side of their house facing ours.
    I watched her for a while, leaning against my car, squinting through the sunlight. She had on jeans again, and a white t-shirt that rode halfway up her back when she squatted to readjust the mangled shingles.

MARY Magazine: Winter 2010

Excerpt from "For Piano and Voice"

    Nisha was tall, Indian on her father's side, French on her mother's, had fine cheekbones and a stubborn jaw, dark eyes, a warm complexion, and just enough of a nose that she wouldn't be mistaken for anyone else. All these features were lovely. And none of them were hers. They belonged to her, but she was not born with them. They were products of her parents' money, and although she was grateful to her mother's insistence on cosmetic surgery after the accident, she was angry, too, that both her parents pretended her cheeks and jaw and neck, the skin on her chest and arms, her beautifully individual nose, were the same features that appeared in Nisha's eighteen-year-old high school glamour shots from nearly ten years ago.
Jersey Devil Press: Holiday Half Issue 2009

Excerpt from "After Toast and Cake"

    Mabel was getting married. To be precise, tomorrow afternoon at three. In a whitish dress with pink flowers embroidered along a revealing v-neckline. In shoes that hurt her feet. In a church, up an aisle flanked by lilies, arm and arm with some friend of her mother's (called Kirk or Chuck or Ambrose) standing in as surrogate for the father who couldn't make it and was somewhere in the Middle East harvesting oil.
    She had, thankfully, escaped. Had fled the church, left her soon-to-be aunt-in-law, mother-in-law, and own soon-to-be-husband arguing about the banners....
Amarillo Bay: Volume 12 Issue 1