Story
The White Buzzards

1. My preferred method of transportation was trains. But America’s railway system was inferior. Platforming in cathedrals of glass panes and iron ribs, marble steps with lips worn to slip hazards, Europe’s trains pull in as from other worlds: sauropod bodies drifting into their own dioramas. Puffing, posing, petrifying. American train stations were built for the impatient. Beams, unfinished floors, unyielding benches—all were meant to reinforce the interiority of travel: …

Story
Postponement

1. Glen Campbell played Warren, Michigan. This was on his farewell tour—so called because the singer announced he had Alzheimer’s disease and was looking, no doubt, into a future when he could not remember lyrics, follow arrangements, or know for what purpose these tiered faces were arranged around him in a human horseshoe. There were secrets to be known. She learned them later than everyone else. “Galveston” was a secret. …

Story
The Conversions

In this city there were shops for knife sharpening and other trades that had disappeared from his city. The street names, printed on tiles and cemented into cornerstones, identified these. Calle de cuchilleros. On Calle de tejedores de seda, displays of silk were cantered in the shop windows. Niagara Falls, the name of the confluencing Niagara River, Lake Eerie, and Lake Ontario, from which came the three great drops—American, Horseshoe …

Story
The Overnight Guest Has Departed

An obstructed sprinkler spigot—water sheeting, ticking up, then down–reminded her of  one wing of a bird struggling to take off. The trees were so aligned they drew sweeping verticals up the hill. She accelerated. She’d taken a bronze doorstop in the form of a German Shepard. Before finding it too heavy, the child would want to play with it, but would not try, noticing his stare. It wasn’t mentioned in …

Story
Hairline

As from the force of bodies hurled forward head first against its inner perimeter, the outside of the sphere was a topography of faces. Some had their eyes closed, braced for the impact. The mouths of others were open, teeth bared, howling at the final time. Or perhaps not so final. He circled the sphere. The muzzle of the weapon between his shoulder blades moved him along. Some appeared calm: …

Story
The Truthscrawl

You wrap your arms around it and carry it against your chest and abdomen like bunched laundry. At checkpoints it’s unfurled and stretched beneath a black UV light. The piss and semen, streaked shit and sweat stains glow against the purple field: the expressions of bodies that have sought sleep and shelter there. I was used to passing though these unquestioned, as I did when entering the country from overseas. …

Story
Incident on the Periphery of the Wilderness

His job was to monitor the planet. It left him time to do other things. He did them, and returned periodically to check that the scripts were running. Once, while munching on a cracker, he noticed an information leak. He set the cracker down on a napkin: a pie chart with percentage eaten in white. The onscreen status log was double-spaced. Intercalated with familiar lines was the new stream. Mujahideen …

Story
The Glass Witch

At first we thought she was made of ice. Cross-country skiing on the golf course, we found her  somewhere along the back nine. (The hole markers had been taken in for the season.) We remarked on her height—almost human-sized—and highly-defined features: whiskers even on the carbuncle on her nose. I wondered if she was some kind of fraternity prank; the college was nearby. But what kind of fraternity would test …

Story
Several Excellent New Italian Restaurants

Icebergs can be tabular or non-tabular. The tabular kinds are frozen plateaus—flat tops with sheer sides. Sawtooth, and an extreme asymmetry, characterize the non-tabular. Both constructions can fail catastrophically. Non-tabular icebergs fall apart from the inside. Slabs like blades detach themselves and plunge unnoticed in the water.  Not until a hole exposes the interior is the devastation obvious. The observer sees through the ice—now an archway—to the sky, clouds. The …

Story
Life of Wall

On this wall, posting a bill means removing the old one. And the worker goes about this hastily, with a paint scraper whose edge buds a fattening lip of glue he must stop and peel continually, while curled and crumpled strips gather around his feet in a constellation. The job is partial, he has other bills to post, and his pay is in numbers. Most of the previous sheet remains …

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