My sister, she is pregnant, with a baby made of stone.
— from “Stone Baby,” Washington Square Review (Spring 2019, Issue 43)
None of the ladies lived off their gardens anymore, and all were retired from the cattle business. Their husbands dead; land long sold or leased to younger guns who hardly knew what they were doing. They didn’t need the land to cradle them like it used to, and as a result, the land seemed determined to squeeze them out, going drier and hotter, until a single spark would do them in. But they were a prayerful lot—they would see what come tomorrow.
— from “What Comes Tomorrow,” South 85 Journal (Fall 2018)
My grandmother refused to leave her room, went quiet. I went for visits, thinking my presence would cheer her up and found myself sorely mistaken. She waited in her chair, her feet pressed into the metal footholds, her hands wrapped around the arms. A tank of oxygen tucked into the back pocket and a thin plastic hose clutched around her head. I knelt before her and talked about what, I don’t now remember. She stared through me for the most of it, then came to and shifted her gaze to my eyes. I stopped talking. She gave me a weak smile, patted my head. Her chin rested to the palm of her hand, and we stared at the age of each other, both of us marking time. She had to use the restroom, she said, after a minute. I helped her to stand, make the walk to the door until she could reach the railing near the toilet, her knees and elbows all pointed and knotted, the spine of her back curved and gnarled like clusters of bark, her skinny legs like twigs trying to steady in the wind.
— from “Dead Trees,” wildness (Winter 2017)
From the overlook, they could see the extent of the canyons and a clearing with rolling hills dotted with scrub brush and tumbleweed. The sky baby blue and hazy from the morning’s dissipating humidity. From the trees, a mist rose, dew evaporating in the heat. She could almost hear it sizzle, soft bird song chiming around it. The canyon rocks boiled up in ridges. Jolie could just make out the geologic layers. Stripes of tan, red, gray, shale and sandstone, eons stacked upon eons. Being so close to the walls earlier that morning had rendered the layers nearly invisible. Nothing but tan, cracked stone and crumbling rock like the whole thing would fall down around them. But with distance, she could see now how time neatly piled itself like pages of a book. This happened, then this happened. How easy it all seemed, predictable and right.
— from “Formation,” Carolina Quarterly (Fall/Winter 2017, Volume 67.1)