Archive for the Junk 2: Winter 2011 Category

Slow Burn

Posted in Erin Murphy, Junk 2: Winter 2011 with tags , , , , , , , on February 14, 2011 by Editors

by Erin Murphy


The day my brother nearly burns down the house, I am sitting on the living room floor.

Correction: it’s not a house but an apartment, my father’s first since the divorce.

I am playing with Lincoln Logs on the burnt-orange shag carpet, building and rebuilding a perfect house with a green roof.

Correction: I’m not playing; I’m killing time until we’re returned to our real home with our real toys and our real parent.

My father is taking a nap in the apartment’s only bedroom.

Correction: It’s not a nap but his usual stupor, a label for which we won’t have for years.

I see the fire out of the corner of my eye.

Correction: What I see first is the shadow puppet of a fire performing on the kitchen wall; mesmerized, I watch for the better part of a minute before investigating its cause.

When I crane my neck around the corner, I see my two-year-old brother waving a brown paper bag that he has dipped in the lit burner of the gas stove. Pretty, he exclaims. Pretty! Pretty!

Correction: He can’t pronounce pretty. He says pity.

I knock the burning bag from my brother’s hand and scream for our father, who bolts from the bedroom and douses the flames.

Correction: Our father doesn’t respond until I shake him awake; he extinguishes the fire with a pot of cold, two-day-old coffee.

My brother’s exclamations soften to a whisper: Pity. Pity. Pity.

No correction necessary.

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Posted in Barry Grass, Junk 2: Winter 2011 with tags , , , , , , , on January 13, 2011 by Editors

by Barry Grass 

Patches of skin walk in sagged and browned. Patches of skin like ruins of skin on skin. Some skin showing where hair once was. Mostly ruined skin showing where a person once was. No. Always a person. Never forget their humanity. Never call them desperate. Always notice their desperation. There are the tests, always, the tubes & diastolic numbers & cuffs & pumps. There is the paperwork, always, the photocopies & emergency contacts & “how long?”s & “where at?”s. There is the hatred, never, but down there somewhere, near memories of fathers, near feelings of abandonment. There is the conflict.

Always. Cover the skin. Throw sheets on the ruins and flush out the grime. Fight the protests. Check the purse, the pant leg. Take the knife, the rock. Wear gloves, always, but never do; gloves create distance. Desire distance, always. Get close in spite of desire, always. Take blood pressures. Talk to them until sleeping. Look at that skin. 

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Posted in Dinty W. Moore, Junk 2: Winter 2011 with tags , , , , , on December 14, 2010 by Editors

by Dinty W. Moore

Florence, Italy, August 2010

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