New Stories for September, 2021

In these first days of fall, we are returning to the best, most varied days our region has to offer– sunny weeks, rainy nights, wild winds, rainbows, and swirling leaves. In that spirit, this month we are also celebrating our community with a sampling of the many genres and styles we are honored to read and share out with you all. This month we have a love poem, a creative non-fiction piece, and an excerpt from a children’s novel. Take up your umbrella and find your sunglasses, and enjoy. 


In the Bellows

by Mariesa Bus

Foggy-breathed and hand in hand with you, I am aware
that as we watch over our sleepy city like a set of mossy gargoyles
the trains below are not bustling, but laboring in the slow and judicious way
of sheep through the slaughter chute, old women in museums,
the trauma in our bloodlines. […] Read the rest here. 


The Rat House 

by Mian Bond Carvin

Gypsy moths crept through my window as I dreamed. The only draw being the pixie night light at the foot of my bed, given to me by some woman I no longer know. I recall chubby arms lifting me up and holding me with tenderness. There was a sweet, powdery smell to her soft, crêpe-like skin. She may have been a babysitter or, perhaps, someone more to my young life. There were others like her, back when mom worked at the A&P, ringing up and bagging groceries for the local mill families. I hated when she left me. I would often run down the road after her, the Ford Falcon wagon kicking up dust into my teary, dejected face. Eventually, I would turn back to those matronly strangers and their houses of frilly tie-back curtains and doily-draped sideboards.

Later on, Mom hired a girl to watch me at home. Emma Dorothy was just a teenager when she came to the rat house on McLemore. After she arrived, I never ran after Mom again. I lived for weekdays, for Emma Dorothy to lumber through the door, scoop me up, and blow raspberries into my sweaty pink neck. As soon as Mom left the house, Emma Dorothy, whom I had dubbed Edie, would dial the radio to a station coming in from Memphis, WDIA. That’s where I came to love soul music. Most of my mornings with Edie were spent in the water-stained, clapboard kitchen – she, draped over the deep rusted iron sink, her butt swinging in time to The Miracles, The Shirelles, and Ben E. King, and me, at the red dinette in my wooden highchair. That was before I graduated to city phone books for a boost at the big table at Grandma’s house. […] Read the rest here.


Pauly Peacock (excerpt) 

by Alice Kinerk

This is the story of an orphaned peacock in Washington State. He did not know about his parents and their tragic encounter with a coyote, their dreams for him, the traditional peafowl lullabies, the bedtime stories of great peacock adventurers. And he did not know anything about the world outside the little hobby farm where he lived. But still, Pauly had a lightness in his bones, a happiness in his heart. Although he couldn’t have put a feather on how he knew, Pauly knew that he was destined for great things. 

Chapter 1: Something Other Birds Can’t Do

Pauly Peacock was born on a hobby farm on the dim and drizzly Key Peninsula in Washington State, but practically from the day his egg cracked, it was clear his future would be bright, bright, bright.

There were so many things Pauly could do!

“I can fly!” Pauly said one day to Patticake, the old dog who had lived on the farm since long before Pauly’s time. “Watch!” Then Pauly leaped out the door of his treehouse coop, spread his wings, swooped three, four, five feet, and came to a gentle landing in front of Patticake.

“I can catch bugs!” he said, licking up a large black ant crawling past Patticake’s paw.

Patticake yawned. “Show me something other birds can’t do.”

Because Pauly was only two, he hadn’t yet grown the colorful train of feathers peacocks are known for. Because Pauly was the only peacock on the farm, he didn’t even know he would grow a train. Because Pauly was a cheerful peachick, young and naive, he took Patticake’s comment as a challenge, a step toward his dazzling destiny. Show me something other birds can’t do.

“Okay, I will!” Pauly said.

And soon he would! Pauly’s dazzling destiny began later that very afternoon.
 […] Read the rest here.