“Dead,” is all he can get out of her.
“Finest still around?” he asks.
“Finest Coon’s dead. Been dead.”
Thunder rolls after the haze in the lazy gray sky. Bulldozers plow through the walls of the house next door. Through the walls. Through the floorboards. The probated tables and chairs. It feels like they’re plowing through his head.
He stands with his back to her. Stooped. Head bent. Staring at the light. Pale and flickering in an otherwise empty refrigerator, save the half stick of butter and the moldy loaf of bread hiding the stale box of baking soda in the back. The same hungry position he assumed sixty years before, the morning he left.
It had been full then. The refrigerator. No light nor state-of-the-art cooling system. Just a box and a block of ice. Melting on a tray on the bottom. And he was scared. Rummaging through the dark as if he were robbing the place.
Po Man's Child
Aunt Florida is angry and it's not a good sign. Yesterday the picture of her that adorns my mantle—the one with the cigar in her mouth and the nickel-sized tar black eyes that glare at you no matter where you stand in the room—tipped over three times. Today all the books on my bookshelf conspired to fall at the exact same moment. And now three mocking liquid shadows dance violently upon my wall even though the candles that cast them burn calm.
"When the Po ladies start turning their faces down on ya," my mother always warned, "You know they are not happy."
It is four a.m. Mary lies flat on her back, knees bent, hands clasped behind her head, breasts falling off to each side. I'm propped beside her, leaning on one elbow, my finger circling the labia stencil tattooed across her navel.
"Tell me a story," she whispers in a sultry voice, stopping the motion of my hand with her own.
The Cemetery Belt
Tens of millions of new Yorkers are buried here, the rich often on manicured hillsides shaded by fir trees, with eternal postcard views of Manhattan. Though most are as crowded and cramped in death as we live in life in this city, packed into twenty-three separate cemeteries buttressed against each other, winding and snaking through the boroughs like segments of a giant centipede. From legendary escape artist, Harry Houdini... to the unnamed and unsung, whose lives and names have been all but forgotten.
Escape the unbearable heat of the City with a day trip to the land without shadows—Narrioch the native Lenape called it, also known as Coney Island. The sun will gleam no less hot, New Yorkers no less plentiful, but where else on the planet can you go for a swim, have your photo taken with a sixteen-foot python named Shorty, shoot a paintball Uzi at a live human target in a game called Shoot the Freak, ride one of the oldest Ferris wheels in the world, and enter an international hotdog eating contest all in the same afternoon?
Beyond Definition confronts questions of sexuality and identity in a new collection of dynamic work by established and emerging writers from the San Francisco Bay Area. Urgent and significant issues are explored including coming out to one's parents, transgenderism, and coping with the loss of a loved one to AIDS.
Read early work by some of your favorite authors, including..
Francisco X. Alarcon, Michelle Tea, Ali Liebegott, Suzie Bright, Wayne T. Corbitt and many others.
Edited by Marci Blackman and Trebor Healey