This is the man whose voice sent us trembling to our rooms; the man whose slaps across our cheeks sent us hurtling into streets looking for that elusive dream: men whose touches don’t leave bruises, welts and tears.

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A Sense of Humor

She rubbed her eyes twice when she saw the hand. It lay between the rows of collard greens, gray and waxen, cut clean at the wrist, with dull fingernails, clenched fingers, clotted blood around the clean, white bone. It looked like something for sale at a Halloween store, something trickster children might use to scare […]

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Because the dishwasher broke down and we had spent our last savings on paying for the dog’s surgery, and because we agreed to share dishwashing duties in the meantime while you waited for business to pick up; and because I came home last night tired after working overtime and you surprised me with making chicken […]

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1 She rested comfortably after the surgery. Lifting her swollen, bandaged hand, she stared at it. She only had enough to pay for one graft, but it was a start. Beneath the tight gauze, the shoots pushed up from flesh. Twiny, barren branches that will one day bear fruit. 2 Mother promised to never let […]

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Into the Night, Into the Forest

The twigs snap and crackle in the fire and the pines moan. I hug myself and huddle close to the flames. I dread the night. The night holds secrets I fear.  I can see the trees now in the darkness, tall figures with branches looming against the gray sky. They look barren and foreboding. They […]

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From Adam’s rib she came and out of the snake’s mouth she went. She has no regrets, not really, except that she hates the periods and misses her garden. On days when she is feeling less than herself, she remembers those long afternoons alone under the apple tree where she’d daydream while cool breezes blew […]

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We didn’t say nothing when we got on the bus. Just took our seats near the back and kept our mouths shut like Mama told us to. We didn’t know where they was taking us, but they never tell us nothing. Minny and them got took six months ago. Don’t nobody know where they went. […]

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