Old Hands

The entire pueblo, all sixteen of them, live lockdown shrink-wrapped like abuela’s chorizo; sealed in hot, airless homes on the Castilian plain. A youth cycles up on the dust road, head down, oblivious to nesting storks above. The grammar of their clatter lost on him. Raps on her door. Abuela never talks about the other … More Old Hands

World War I: Two Deaths

A letter, neatly typed, with government postage. “You are hereby called to serve your country.” He marries quickly, promising to return, alive. The trenches are wet and feces-filled. Ready-made graves. The wounded moan, their wounds festering. Rats lap at the seeping rot. The air sits still and cold, clinging to a soldier’s soul. Then, a … More World War I: Two Deaths

The Car Needs Washing

Water hits the windshield and I set my book down in my lap, close my eyes. For the moment I’m contained, compartmentalized. A world of my own. The car needs washing, he’d said. Something simple, and with both eyes closed I can imagine it wash away the snarl of his lips, the mug dashed on … More The Car Needs Washing

Digging to China

“I’m digging to China,” the young boy threw an earnest explanation up to his father along with a shovelful of dirt that hit him in the face. The father frowned and scolded his son. The mailman could fall in or the boy could get trapped down there. Besides, he’d have to tunnel through the earth’s … More Digging to China

The Walrus

The lighthouse keeper’s only daughter is gone – thought drowned. I see him on the headland, as sun blinks peachy first light, seeking, seeking. His tears an ugly ocean. Screeching. Screaming. The Selkies took her. I saw them; wrapped her in blubbery fur. Turned land legs to sea tail. Flattened nose. Molded orb eyes. My … More The Walrus


My legs are heavy. The sun is bright in my eyes as I ride past an attractive man with a full gray beard, and I think of yours, how the salt in it scared me. I loved you, but I was 22. Because of the internet, I still know what you’re up to. Your daughters … More Trail


At 22, I crept through the house, pushed open bedroom doors and curled up in the empty, unmade beds that didn’t belong to me. I didn’t know who I was. I thought I could try the lives of others. When I was little, my brother smirked at me: I had talked in my sleep. What … More Snooping

A Simple Request

“You’re starting a new school,” she said; “don’t tell your new friends you were adopted.” What about my friends at my old school? I guess I don’t have to talk to them anymore. Won’t someone notice that there aren’t any baby pictures? I could just flip through pictures quickly if it comes up. What is … More A Simple Request


Every time Father fails to keep his Saturday visit, he sends us gifts: silver dollars, seashells, Belgian chocolate. Last week, Chris received an original Willie Mays baseball card. For me, jewelry, which I’ve already lost. Today it’s snow globes. My shelves are crammed with enough gifts to make me cry. Lisa Marie Lopez resides in … More Gifts


The unticked box that asks for a baby’s race. The blank birth certificate, filled in a rush the night before the legal deadline. The lace trim of her bonnet for when the scurf dapples the moving place in her head. The fresh skin that quietly forms beneath the smallpox scab and fully healed bears the … More Inheritance