Saturday, April 19, 2014

Theme: Steven Millhauser

  • The boy Samuel wakes in the dark. Something’s not right. Most commentators agree that the incident takes place inside the temple, rather than in a tent outside the temple doors, under the stars. Less certain is whether Samuel’s bed is in the sanctuary itself, where the Ark of the Covenant stands before a seven-branched oil lamp that is kept burning through the night, or in an adjoining chamber.Read more
  • I should have said no to the stranger at the door, with his skinny throat and his black sample case that pulled him a little to the side, so that one of his jacket cuffs was higher than the other, a polite no would have done the trick, no thanks, I’m afraid not, not today, then the closing of the door and the heavy click of the latch, but I’d seen the lines of dirt in the black shoe creases, the worn-down heels, the shine on the jacket sleeves, the glint of desperation in his eyes.Read more
  • He’s nine going on ten, skinny-tall, shoulder blades pushing out like things inside a paper bag, new blue bathing suit too tight here, too loose there, but what’s all that got to do with anything? What’s important is that he’s here, standing by the picnic table, the sun shining on the river, the smell of pine needles and river water sharp in the air, somewhere a shout, laughter, music from a radio. His father’s cleaning ashes out of the grill, his mother and sister are laying down blankets on the sunny grass not far from the table, Grandma’s carrying one of the aluminum folding chairs toward the high pine near the edge of the drop to the river, and he’s doing what he likes to do best, what he’s really good at: standing around doing nothing. Everyone’s forgotten about him for a few seconds, the way it happens sometimes. Read more
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