The house, so full with the heavy breath of prayer and the shifting feet of the waiting, settles another inch and the long vigil is suddenly over. Ona’s mother is dead. One after another, the women untangle their hands from their rosary beads and feel relief in knowing that now there will be more productive things to do than pray.
Our Lady of the Angels Grammar School was a brick building without artifice—not a tree or a shrub broke the solid flank it presented to Felton Street. I was walking back to Angels with my two best friends Joyce Wiowski and Rosemarie DeLullo. The school had no cafeteria, so most kids went home for lunch. The walks back and forth were the best part of the day anyway.
His new wife is nothing like his old wife. His old wife, Doris, had an affair with his Rabbi, more for her amusement than anything else. This was a man whose teeth were dark and uneven, a man whose suits and fingers smelled of cigarette smoke. When Doris took her husband’s goodwill and religion with a single pelvic thrust, she was a blonde with great calves and decent enough looks if you could ignore her oily skin and psoriasis.
Curtis Smith has the corner on the short story market. His fiction and essays have appeared in over fifty literary journals and anthologies, he has published two collections of short-short stories (Placing Ourselves Among the Living and In the Jukebox Light), and his third collection will feature both a novella and more short stories. He is also a novelist (An Unadorned Life), a special learning teacher, father of a four-year old and a husband.
Somehow, he manages to take on all of these roles and write short stories that Laurel Johnson, editor of The Midwest Book Review has said make his newest book, The Species Crown (June ’07, Press 53) “the latest literary gem.”
Elise Juska is in good company. Her writing has been compared to the work of Helen Fielding and Nick Hornby and her newest essay will appear in Everything I Needed to Know About Being a Girl I Learned from Judy Blume this summer alongside noted women writers Meg Cabot and Jennifer Connelly.
Her work has also been published in numerous literary journals and her first novel, Getting Over Jack Wagner, was named a “Critic’s Choice” by People. Her second novel, The Hazards of Sleeping Alone, received similar praise. This June, Elise’s third book, One for Sorrow, Two for Joy, will be published by Simon & Schuster.
Most of the time Bernice stares at the painted window,
wishing for the sun.
When my husband called the other day, I thought there was an emergency. We’d only talked once in the five months since we’d been separated.
“It’s about our son, David,” Frank said, as if I might not recall the name of our only child.
“Wait,” I said. “Have you been drinking?” It was one in the afternoon, a Saturday.
“I got a post card from him today,” Frank said. “He’s not in college any more.”
“What?” I said. “Where is he?”
August 30, 1957. SS France
Whoopee! Junior Year in Paris. Universite de la Sorbonne, here I come.
Arrived in New York Friday, right on schedule. But let me tell you, baby sister, there’s a big difference between Birmingham trains and the trains up north. For one thing, there are no separate cars. It’s whites and coloreds all together, if you please. And no “Mornin’ ma’am.” Just hustle-bustle.
Did Mommy ever tell you
before your goodnight
to a gracious wind from
333,000 brown residents
of North Philadelphia