Features

Callie Barr’s Black Bottom

 

In memory of Callie Barr, known in historical record 

as caretaker of William Faulkner’s family

 

 

You may find her behind

          Rowan Oak, a shadow

               of fortress where then now

          you find no real entry place. . . .

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The Name Means Thunder

I am no longer blind, but there was a time many years ago when I lost my vision. Next week I’ll see the eye doctor for my cataracts, and he’ll ask if my eyes were ever damaged. I don’t know how these things work, but should I go in for surgery—should it come to that—I feel that withholding any medical information, . . .

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My Father, the Atomic Bomb

I would not be who I am today were it not for the Bomb. 

Had there not been a bomb, my biological father—a Manhattan Project physicist—would not have died in 1951 from radiation-induced cancer a month before my fourth birthday, and I would not have grown up fatherless.  . . .

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Nighttime Ride

The dad had a sweet tooth; it was something fierce. When it got ahold of him, no matter where he was—clearing invasives on the job, taking the kids for a weekend, eating his one-pan dinner—he had to satisfy it, like if he didn’t it would consume him inside out. 

This happened one time when the kids were with him. . . .

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Benessere

 Nico drove with one hand caressing the steering wheel, the very picture of the bella figura so fundamental to Italian manhood. His other arm lay along the seatback, his hand cupping my shoulder. It was a sparkling, chilly November morning. Leaving Genoa’s shabby grandeur behind, the westbound A-10 began to pour under the old Karmann Ghia’s wheels; . . .

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Works-in-Progress

Authors’ note: This essay began after a conversation about writing and our shared interest in documenting the origin and evolution of our identities as writers. We build all our collaborative essays by responding to one another’s sections until a natural endpoint occurs. In this case, Julie wrote the first section, . . .

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Questions Directed Toward the Idea of Mary

 

Was it the voice you feared, or its shadow?

Did you long for His touch or was suffering enough for you

               to know He was there?

Do you resent my juvenile hungers?

Do you wish for me the freedom of a vast barren plain? . . .

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Machinery

 

My father loved every kind of machinery,

relished bearings, splines, windings, and cogs,

loved the tolerances between moving parts

and the parts that moved the parts,

the many separate machines of machinery.

Loved the punch, the awl, . . .

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Leo’s Bomb

When the bomb goes off Leo is thinking of dogs. In particular: how he doesn’t like them.

It’s something about their eyes, which blink with an odd depth of understanding that appears almost human to him. A few years back, he read a story about a St. Bernard who remained by his owner’s grave for five years after the man died. . . .

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