Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Excerpts in Limbo, Vol. 7

I don't write short stories. Rather: I don't write them successfully, and therefore I do not write them. Writers of short stories tend to have a clear vision, a more focused intention. Or, I suspect they do.

And yet.

I give you this, from an unfinished story began, according to Word, on 1/11/00:

The dirty cotton rope. It hangs there now, now that the bruised weight has come off of it and the memories are mostly rubbed away, a pink eraser smudge on clean white paper. It was the rope that hung clothes; she remembers that. The shirts and pants making limp body-shapes curling to greet you in the late wind, the last firm wind of summer. Because it was summer. And it was windy. That she also remembers. Some memories of that day shrivel. Others expand.

The toy horse. The wooden broom handle hacked off and glued snugly to a wad of cloth covered paper towels. When there was rain the head would soak and then dry, a new shape each day. Always a new grimace, a new stare. The toy horse that Daddy made for him. The toy horse that, later, brought out the worst in Daddy. At least she remembers it as the worst. How could there be any worse?

The cellar that filled with water from the outside in. Pooling toward her, silver mercury approaching from all the corners. The pump running all day. All night. "Run down and check on it," her mother always said. "Make sure the water isn’t reaching up too far." She remembers the coolness. The cold loam floor, dark as violet tar, smelly and rich as butter.

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