Because it seemed as if the real world and I had been stripped of what we had tried and could not hold, then torn apart and rebuilt, recreated into no more or less than what we were, though who or what this was—my revela­tion—was something I could never know . . . .

Appeared in Numéro Cinq, Vol. I, No. 6, July 2010

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Time at the kiln was measured in bricks: twenty to fifty bricks a pallet, depend­ing on their size, two or three pallets an hour, sixteen to twenty-four pallets a day. Cramped between a mound of bricks and the curved wall of a kiln, we moved time, lifting, lowering, stacking, and thus dimin­ishing it, only to return to a kiln full of bricks the next day. It was a time of endless subtraction.

Appeared in The Crescent Review 16, No. 2

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The Clinic

His backhand . . . was gorgeous. Pure, simple, seemingly effortless. Yet still not there, but somewhere between the time he snaps his head and racket back together, recoiling in anticipation of the bounce, and the time the ball meshes with the strings, in that fraction of a second that he stands there waiting, accepting, gravely holding at arm’s length a universe of infinite pos­sibilities of all the possible paths, spins, and turns of the ball—it’s there you felt a surge inside as if the world were being drawn to a balance, and watching him you could almost believe that there were such a thing as grace.

Appeared in Confrontation 48/49 (Spring/summer 1992)

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At the Welfare Office


Why oh why oh why did she every marry Larry? Because the second she said yes, she raised everywhere around her all those ghosts, the ghosts of living kin who were dead to her, the ghosts of dead kin who never lived, and the ghosts of their dead dead kin—dead until that one second. The ground was thick and deep above and below with years of dead people and their tired old rotting souls, so crowded you couldn’t move without feeling you stepped on someone somewhere, so crowded that the second she said yes, she thought she felt the ground move—

Appeared in the minnesota review 26 (Spring 1986)

The boat and the shoe!

And more than this. It wasn’t just the boat, the shoe, but the boat and the shoe, whose meaning was compounded by their pairing and juxtaposition, and somewhere between them was whatever there was that could bring them together, something that was different, greater than the two, than any design of the people who made them. And if a boat and shoe could be put together, what else could be put together? What else couldn’t be put together?