The Wall

I am writing for my friend Sally, who married a migrant worker and moved to California, who had a child and sews her own clothing. Who sat with me in the rain, tucked into a hollowed-out cave. Who handed me homemade kombucha, then vodka, then a novel by Milan Kundera. Sally, who in a fiction … More The Wall


The Russians arrived. All I remembered about Russians was that they eat children and rape virgins, a major improvement over the present hell. Would they even know I was a child, a girl, naked as I was? One soldier approached me. “Yevreyskaya devushka?” Jewish girl? I wasn’t even afraid anymore. “Da.” Yes. He opened his … More Liberation

The Tattoo

We were five or six; it was a long time ago. Annie and I used to play on the wooden steps of our parents’ Steiner Street apartment house. She had lots of freckles, red hair, and numbers tattooed on her forearm. We matured into a lifelong friendship. She became a successful immigration attorney living in … More The Tattoo

A Thousand Other Ghosts

Two Security Service agents were waiting outside of the church. One of the agents leveled a black market German Luger in our direction. “We hope you both made a good confession,” the agent said. His partner took the bag from Stosh. A smile spread across his face as he rooted through the bag with his … More A Thousand Other Ghosts


After decades of writing horror and selling millions of books, Winston Knight had grown synonymous with the genre. People wore his likeness on their t-shirts, carried around action figures of him—some even wore tattoos. He’d written books about murderers, monsters, aliens, and clowns–none of which scared him in the least. He carried only one fear … More Fear

Under the Desk

I glance out the window. A man ambles about the playground, whirling the merry-go-round, dangling from the monkey bars. “Bobby, what is twenty-one divided by seven?” The doors slam with a harsh thud. His steps click on the tile floor. He pauses outside the room. I glimpse his face; it’s puckered and drips of sweat. … More Under the Desk

The Shadows of Nagasaki

With deft fingers, Ahymya folds squares of red fabric and white paper into perfect pleats, the box of ko-cha peeking through the wrapping. She hopes her neighbor will enjoy the tea. “Come, Haru.” She takes her son’s hand; they step outside to a cloudy August day. The boy frowns. “Perhaps the sunshine will return soon.” … More The Shadows of Nagasaki


The house was more or less like any other house in the 1980’s – chintz wallpaper, lace curtains, abundant pastel drapes – but at the same time, it was different. “Are they dinosaur eggs?” I asked, peering into the fruit bowl. Martha, my host’s aunt-by-marriage from Ghana, laughed a deep, jolly laugh. She picked one … More Martha

Press the Button

What’s the answer? she asked and he wanted to say we are past the point the answer would matter but the words stuck there and would not clear his lips as if he were gagged. We can’t—he started and stopped. There isn’t—he stopped again. She looked at him and her eyes prodded: Anything at all? … More Press the Button

The Transporter

What you have to understand is – it was about the money. Some people hear a word like debt and can only comprehend it hypothetically. Some people watch the syllable propelled out of your mouth like vomit and respond accordingly. Some people really sympathize. Fuck them. One hundred grand, they said – problems solved. That’s … More The Transporter