He ached to move into and out of her body and make her feel him fiercely.
He loathed them most, despising their desire to get on with things.
Picture the thing you want most. True love? A new car? Let it go.
Trysting lovers kissed while breezes fidgeted the leaves.
I thought fleetingly he might give it to me, as he knew I wanted it.
He was trying to seduce me with his history, which was mine as well.
Redemption is a broken bar on a cage. Loss is a sky of stars.
There is a pinhole of light through the fog. A skiff on a lake.
All roads lead to Rome, but all trails take you to Oklahoma.
Death will come for us so fast we will never be able to outrun it.
Lost land, this is a song for the scars on your back, for your blistered feet.
If it hasn’t killed you by now just wait. This doesn’t mean you can fly.
Everyone they pass is consumed by some desperate interior story.
Decay enters us through the eyes. As always I lose focus.
In the photograph we look nearly the same. Heft and hewn.
Stripped we are — no mark of wealth or rank upon us. We wear our skins.
“We have heard that this blackened smear is art. We do not see it.”
If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you time is a language I don’t speak.
No fields of gold. No ripe. One hill, no wave, no roll. I am billboards.
I try to imagine him wanting only a Toblerone bar for his birthday.
Miriam slept at the ranch often, although little sleep happened there.
We are good at thinking we can stay. We are good at finding hurt.
It takes you more than ten thousand years to orbit the sun.
God, I need to know what happened to those who tried to cross.
The excuse, of course, was that men had to support families.
We were hurtling close to a hundred miles an hour through the dark.
His mother’s face had been that pretty, though more resigned.
There is beauty in the way she looks at me over the kitchen table.
What that truth is doesn’t matter, finally, because of your persistence.
Her hips, her pelvis, broke free of concerns. His eyes hovered.
Our life is fine as it is, she would say to him, and it seemed true.
When his father was out cold he tied him up, roping his arms to his sides.
He knew deep down that only her ridiculous optimism kept them going.
The author reads her story, a finalist in the Winter 2013 Story Contest.
I will have to remember the man’s hooded eyes as he watches.
The man said in a hard voice, “I wanna fuck you, little Indian girl.”
Once she had loved him. When had she stopped? She did not know.
His mouth hardens whenever their son’s name is mentioned.
Her body is no longer the source of pleasure but constant pain.
It wasn’t the bees I thought to tell but wasps the evening you died.
A snapshot of loneliness and vice in this powerful six-word story.
The old man drinks some more liquor and whacks down two trees.
The day holds a cup of milk and sits on the couch, legs tucked up.
It’s cruel to watch my edges crystallize and reflect light.
The field wants to stretch the hours, wants to be empty for us.
Is that coffee you have, or the hell of fusion in your cupped hands?
I take Saturday’s unpopulated trains, since there is no safety in numbers.
Bill Evans’s quiet solo was walking out on unbelievably thin ice.
How did the light take forty years to work its way across that room.
Even our tenderest buds and shoots endure the late snow.
My books, I can hardly read them, they make so much sense.
Trees had been old men with beards when the woods were still whips.
The photo portraits express the unguarded essence of each author.
It swims for a while, but abandons itself, slips from its own grasp.
The leaves of the olives were made entirely of night, as if cut out of skies.
A boy watching another boy lucky gets an ache. That is a small motor.
The danger of the shirt—always, every moment, it is so obvious.
What I eat, that heap has eaten. What I like, it gets, but less of.
The places in between places are like countries themselves.
You gave me blue and I gave you yellow. Together we are green.
A pie can’t go to college, work hard for the grades, two jobs on the side.
Remind the children never to use the state as a metric for ethics.
My mother said a woman’s handbag is more private than her body.
Children were driven by deep yearnings that should be satisfied.
The cicada will crawl up a tree and leave the murmur of skin.
I recoil from the certitude that religion can give a person; it’s horrific.
I’m going to save up against the flood and stagger to carry nothing.
Go came up with the idea that all things were part of a good conspiracy.
Their eyes met from time to time. I thought about what I could tell her.
Somebody would be a lot happier if she were more like her mother.
what happens in all these villages after we ride through them?
The celebration stops, like a sparrow hitting a sliding-glass door.
When a cobra eats it starts with the head, goes to the place that thinks.
Mikey said the hole wouldn’t lead to China, but he was frequently wrong.
How large our muscles have to be to lift our wings even a single time.
Our spirits are as transparent as the gown my wife wears in bed.
I sit next to a man I never loved but let kiss me wetly for two months.
I am a pornography of small promises, the chugging gin of the universe.
Anne Marie Rooney
Anne Marie Rooney
What I became was not pretty. Like a needle on water-warped paper.
I bring out the emergency in people and I don’t know why.
The Bengalis negotiate their space with corrupt politicians and landsharks.
Lily hated Ray’s cancer. She couldn’t see it or cure it.
Nothing happened to him? Why, genius had happened to him!
The neighbor needs his blaring-music his car-cocoon of sound
He cut down on beer and moved into the hotel that had my name.
If I had known I would have saved the abacus from the fire.
My son trims a curtain of lashes, immures them into a stray year.
“Tell me how it felt”—he narrows his eyes—“when you first saw her.”
My body. Stop the air. Travel by stopping, full stop, just there.
I hand in my form. I wonder if the doctor with the needles will laugh at me.
On her sixty-second birthday Marge Olson got a call, not a gift.
After the child died they mourned oddly. She wanted another.
Stocking shelves, like serving, is a job that will not let go of your mind.