Out There

HE’S BEEN SEEN standing in a vineyard in Westfield, beside the Thruway, waving to truckers, and then the same day in Conneaut, wandering the docks. A surveillance camera places him in Geneva; a carny operator sold him a doughnut in Geneva On The Lake. The police have received calls from Canton, Akron, as far west as you taped your homemade flyers on the sides of tollbooths, pinned them to rest stop corkboards. At this point you don’t know what to believe, how much hope you need to keep nested away like the cache of half dollars and keno tokens in his dresser.

Continue reading

The Novel of the Holocaust

THE NOVEL OF THE HOLOCAUST is coming!  Yessiree–alive, alive, alive!  SEE the freak of the twentieth century, the soul-searching survivor of the ultimate battle of good and evil!  HEAR his pitiful story of torture and degradation!  THRILL to the savage, inhuman acts of his captors!  Yes, he’s coming, one command performance only, the sideshow setting up its tent in the meadow by the river.  All day children have been racing their bikes across the bridge, fighting to peek under the canvas.  Come one, come all!

Continue reading


Published in Ascent

SHE HAD NOT WANTED TO GO to Ho Chi Minh City–or anywhere else with Roland. Even on the plane, on the way down, Gayle clung to this as if it absolved her in advance, though it was no secret.  He was good at indulging her. Her grief, her anger, her unproductive moods.  It was what she’d feared, marrying a man so much older; even her father had never coddled her. It seemed Roland never tired of saving her from herself, then expected credit.

Continue reading

The Great Rushdie

IT HAS CURED ME of my irrational terror of helicopters, that is one thing I can say. Now all my nightmares take place in airports, racing down endless corridors for flights I’ve missed. Heathrow, D’Orly, JFK. He only trusts a few. I wait as he waits, board as he boards, thrill to the same in-flight film.

Continue reading

Good Morning, Heartache

Published in the Winter 2000 Issue of Glimmer Train

HE CAME TO HER because his mother was going through some hard times moneywise. Of course it was not money really; there was a man who’d almost married her, a lost job, a car stolen from their parking lot. The schools, the neighborhood, even the weather seemed to play into the decision. Milwaukee was a city with no jobs, Yvonne said, and cold in winter, ice reaching into the gray lake. Maybe it was time to try Chicago (Miss Fisk didn’t say it was the same lake, the same cold, the same city finally). Yvonne called her night after night, sometimes swearing bitterly, sometimes crying, and Miss Fisk could not say no.

Continue reading