Thursday, April 17, 2014


Garnet pulled a loose thread, widening the ladder in the sweater her mother had knit. She tried to remember mum’s blonde curls bouncing as she laughed at a joke. Garnet had been funny, then. But the image would not come, supplanted by cornflower blue eyes wide with fear, body tilting at sickening angles as the car spun on grease-slicked road, rolling over and over, filling with smells of piss and blood and smoke.

Garnet had crawled from the crumpled wreckage of her life, just inches from the cliff. Freed from the hospital at last, it was time to go over.

Friday, April 04, 2014


I stood at the top of the stairs in a cold sweat. The rumble of genteel conversation below frightened me more than a pack of snapping dogs. Hounds I could quiet, but mine were secure behind an iron gate so as not to disturb the guests.

Brightly bedecked girls flowed down the steps, sanguine despite the cacophonous swirl, or perhaps because of it. We had been plumped, plucked and primped. Taught to dance, play, flirt, we were admonished above all to avoid scandal.

My sisters were too young to understand that this was not a party. It was a sale.


Deft fingers turning ancient dial, quiet clicks echoed in Malcolm’s head.

“Hurry up!” Sal hissed.

“One shouldn’t rush delicate work.” The last tumbler fell into place, satisfying need for perfection.

“Cops could show at any minute.”

“Then you won’t have done your job.”

“Fucking ponce.”

Malcolm opened the safe and laconically placed stacks of bills into Sal’s shaking hands. The younger man zipped it up and turned away, anticipating dissipation.

Thin wire across delicate throat, pink bubbles erupting from surprised lips, Sal fell.

Bonds tucked into his inside jacket pocket, Malcolm stepped over the body and into a finer world.

I know what I know

First time Ciara woke up with a broken bone, Father demanded to know who had hurt his baby girl.

“Happened in the dream place, Pop-Pop.” She wouldn’t recant, even for a chocolate shake.

Sixth time, she came into the den dragging her leg. “Oakmen disturbed the King’s concert. They trampled me.”

Despair filled Father’s eyes. He already had a bed in the psych ward on standby.

That very night, They came for their Queen, and I watched my little sister disappear through the wall.

Nothing you say or give me will make me recant, but I do appreciate the bed.