“A Desert Would Do Fine,” Pleiades: Literature in Context, forthcoming in Fall 2024
“Habits of a Brokenhearted Man,” Pembroke Magazine, June 2022 – in print
My girlfriend had split up with me and, as was my habit for when I was in the doldrums, I turned to cigarettes. It was stronger than me, this feeling; it rushed at me, grabbed me by the lapels, shook me back and forth before wrestling me to the ground, breathless, beaten, capitulating. This time I had lasted four years without them—definitely respectable, if I may say so myself.
“Flight,” The Wrath-Bearing Tree, February 2022 – online
It’s past two in the morning, and it is warm on this early summer night despite a slight drizzle falling through the trees. I’ve just bedded down in my tent, which is my home for the summer and fall seasons here in Copperhill, Tennessee, where I work as a raft guide on the Ocoee River. But as I lie there, my eyes getting heavier by the second, I have a strange feeling that something’s not quite right.
“Pebble on a Mountaintop,” The Summerset Review, Fall 2021 – online
When Mia contacted me to see if she and two friends could come visit in SoCal, it wasn’t just an ordinary matter for me. It was an event.
“Aiko,” River and South Review, Summer 2020 – online
The first time I saw her, she was wearing a long, golden, tight-fitting gown, the type of gown a woman would wear at an upscale dinner party. She looked beautiful, and I didn’t realize until much later that she had worn that dress to seduce a western man at the school. Who exactly? At the time, she didn’t know.
“In the Republic of Venice,” The Carolina Quarterly, June 2020 – online
I am sixteen, Leonora seventeen, both of us unmarried. And because we live with our respective families, we meet regularly in an abandoned little shack to share intimate moments. Neither one of us has any real interest in boys, and by that first look we exchanged at the market nine months prior, we understood we sought the same thing. But the edicts in the Republic of Venice are clear: copulation between women is forbidden.
“Berthold,” New Plains Review, Fall 2016 – in print
They say the human being can get used to anything, and I suppose that’s true. Most days I didn’t wallow in a consuming despair at colors lost, shapes left behind, sunsets forever more unseen. But those other days did occur and, sometimes, in those fits of rage that took over me, I saw red again. The red of the blood I wanted to pour out of veins I dreamed sliced open, the red of shame for wanting to let go of it all and fall into the peace of oblivion, the red of indignation at my incomplete and permanent state.
“The Channels to the Past,” The MacGuffin, Spring 2015, in print
What struck me wasn’t the laudatory tone of the review, but something else entirely: the reviewer’s name. Jean-Baptiste Tinon-Mirrat had been my best friend when the two of us had met in college at the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium, and now, over fifty years later, I found myself before memories I had set in the attic of my mind never to be retrieved. And yet, with this unexpected review—unexpected in that I never would have thought to see his name on it—I was now, strangely, revisiting sweet and bitter moments of years long gone.
“Phantom Touch,” 34 Orchard, Fall 2020 (Issue 2) – online
They’re only whisperings at first. Slithery, indistinct words that infiltrate your mind. And you wonder if these are your hazy, imprecise thoughts, or something else entirely. Until one day, they are no longer whisperings. Faint but clear, the voices have texture now, and you can decipher the words in your head. That’s when you know that these are definitely not your thoughts—they are distinctly other.
“The Book,” Vastarien: A Literary Journal, Spring 2020, in print
Now, when he came back from the library, it was with half a dozen books of different genres. Science fiction, romance, literature, horror, fantasy, he read it all. He loved getting lost in another time, another place, and hours would often go by without him noticing that he’d skipped a meal, that the walk he’d told himself he would take after lunch had been passed over for one more page, one more chapter, one more book.
“Downward,” Nightscript (Vol. 3), October 2017, in print
You’re yanked to a dun alley, through a black door, and dragged down a circular stairway into what looks like the insides of a dungeon. You falter down the steps wishing for, begging for an explanation that never comes, descending ever deeper, through torchlit stairways and passageways — shadows at once preceding and chasing you — until you’re hurled into an isolated cell at the farthest end of a corridor at the bottommost part of the prison; and when the cell door shuts, you’re left there alone, not knowing what you’ve done or to whom.