Selected Short Stories and Essays
THE PERFECT DAY
All night, snow falls, stitching together a blanket outside my window. From time to time, I flip on the porch light to study the rail. How high? Six inches, ten inches, eighteen inches. Before dawn inkles into the sky, I wake to silence. Snow suffuses the world: intricate crystals locking one flake onto another. No wind. No wet. Only powder: cold smoke according to Indian legend. . . .
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Wrapped in the quilt from Ella’s hope chest, Dick brooded in his chair. March chill crept through the thin walls, and he wished the sun would shine and warm his joints. There was about as much chance of that as there was hope in the chest.
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DOWN THE MINE
“The morning was still dark when my guide opened the “dry” room, the miners’ changing area, and found diggers, hardhat, lamp, and battery pack for my trip into the mine. Suited up, I felt as if I were heading off to do battle. . . . . I tried to forget that scuba diving lessons had sent me away crying from claustrophobia, that a high bluff or even a balcony has tempted me to jump off, and that a dark room suffocates me. Did I think my fear of closed, dark and high places would leave me when I entered a mountain and traveled down to the workings of the Bunker Hill Mine in Kellogg, Idaho?”
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WHO’S AFRAID NOW?
Past issue: #21/The Day After Tuesday/Written submissions: Who’s Afraid Now?
For more see Orlo Magazine
A KOKOPELLI SONG
Photographs by Gerry Morrison
Kokopelli is the name given to a human-shaped figure that appears frequently in the Four Corners area in rock art of the Fremont and Anasazi peoples, ancestors of the Hopi, Zuni and Pueblo Indians. Usually hump-backed and portrayed in profile, the figure often plays a flute and sometimes sports a tumescent male phallus. When my photographer husband and I journeyed into the red rock country of Utah and on into Arizona, Kokopelli accompanied us, drawn on rocks, pecked into desert walls, carved in soapstone and bone.
For more see the Saint Anne’s Review Winter/Spring 2004
Peter absorbed the sounds around him: the continuous cricket serenade, the drone of flies and bees, the clacking of grasshopper wings, the shivering of brittle aspen leaves. He released his grip on the rocks, floated and waggled his feet and hands to move slowly around the pool that defined the perimeter of his home. Orange leaves dropped on the water and sailed along in the breeze. The moss on his shoulders and chest floated, a hair frame to his prune-like skin, green in contrast to the neon yellows and scarlets in the aspens and cottonwoods lining the road and the sagebrush purple in the late afternoon light.
For more see the River Styx Issue #62
Doc Dahlman swung his 1959 Ford station wagon alongside the pickups with frosted windows parked by the Gem Mining company office. In his headlights, two miners in yellow slickers quarreled. One man poked his finger at the other to make a point. The second man raised his fist and pounded air. Their headlamps stabbed the chilly dark with spears of light, and behind them, an electric locomotive hauling ore rattled out of the mine tunnel. Doc grabbed his medical bag. He wasn’t one of Snow White’s dwarves; he wouldn’t need a pick to find his treasure.
For more, see Our Working Lives, an Anthology
Txomin watched the sky change from pale morning blue to the dense graywhite that carried snow. When he first smelled the steely scent, he whistled for his dog. “Bring ’em down, Baltza.” He made a circular motion with his hand. “Curl ’em around the wagon.”
For more see the Clackamus Literary Review
The fish were there. I’d seen at least four large mouths sipping flies in the Big Wood side channel.
My perch on the narrow rock and scrub island by the deep, quiet pool was awkward. I wasn’t used to my 13-foot leader. And then, too, I had an audience, which I didn’t like. My fly, a teeny #22 baetis emerger, one that “Fast Reel” Eddy in Ketchum had promised me would draw fish like humming birds to honeysuckle, was barely visible. It floated with the meandering current around the half-submerged end of a log, through a miniature whirlpool by the bank, under an overhanging pine branch. I cringed, praying it wouldn’t catch on anything. I waited. Swallows chirped by in graceful swoops. No action.
Published in Rocky Mountain Game & Fish, May 1997 and in
Starry Night Review (e-zine) 1999.