Holding Pattern

  You always be seein some wacky shit on the train. Bitch slap a nigga for eyein her. Nigga piss on somebody who piss him off. Somebody get they throat slit over a gold chain. Shit like that. Like this … Continued

The Neon Touch

          Kelly, whose mother had rolled up the Subaru windows and driven into a lake, took photos of crushed up anti-depressants. Each pill, Kelly said, represented an unanswered question about her mother’s suicide. Sophia, whose parents … Continued

Open Call

Because of the number and severity of the stab wounds and the disorder of his room, which indicated a violent struggle, the death of Horton Smith Juaire Jr. was at first listed as a homicide. It was not until after … Continued

The Boobie Trap

“Redwoods,” Hammond said, “hold this earth together. They never lose the dirt.” He stomped. “Roots this wide—” He did a full arm wingspan from where he sat in the center of the living room in his big easy, meaning to … Continued

So Wild

            Pearl was limp with boredom and Taiwan’s humidity. That morning Pearl’s mother, Wen Hua, told her that visitors were coming to the house and ordered her to wear one of the playsuits she’d bought … Continued


Translated from French by S.C. Delaney and Agnès Potier   First it was two false incisors falling on his plate. In the past he might have laughed, written some pages, maybe a decent story he’d have put away with some … Continued

No Aerial Experience Required

    Everything she owned fit into a yellow cab. A year living on Avenue B and all she’d accumulated were calluses from barefoot turns, the bottom of each toe hardened and ridged like the edge of an almond. It … Continued

Narrow Salvation

The first time the cat showed up, Suzie opened the front door to go to work and it was waiting outside. Fat and orange, it walked right past her into the living room. No collar, matted fur, a scratch across … Continued

Second Person

You do not like the second person. You find the second person indulgent, and co-optive of the reader. You walk down the street, you buy a croissant and then—well, thinks the reader, joke’s on you, I hate pastry and haven’t … Continued


It was the night before trial. The Zyclone team had relocated to temporary office space in Newark, near the federal courthouse; an entire block of rooms had been reserved in the Marriott. As case manager, Clark had to ensure that … Continued

In a Land Strange to Us

translated from Italian by Allison Grimaldi-Donahue     3 March 2002 We saw each other in a land that was strange to you, the first time: me on the other side of that metal detector, hoping you would make it … Continued

Two Yellow Titmice

Translated from Chinese by Jennie Chia-Hui Chu   My big brother Da Ge, who was the son of my father’s first wife when they were still living in the country, was much older than me. We weren’t close. He spoke … Continued

The History

My father wishes he could spit poisonous words at me, that his hatred could dissolve me like acid, I see this daily in his eyes. Meanwhile the French consul is furious and the police have come by for the third … Continued

Between the Storm and the Window

The man who handles my call to the Department of Motor Vehicles is required to tell me that he’s a convict in one of our state’s prisons. Next he asks, “What can I do to help?” “My wallet’s been stolen. … Continued

The Library

I work in the public library destroying books. For six hours a day, I stand in the basement over two trash cans, or trash barrels, really, given their size. I use a boxcutter. It’s a lot like shucking oysters. That’s … Continued