by Vic Sizemore
Two years after Oxy shut down Mom’s lungs forever, my stepdad Cecil called and asked if I would come and care for him while the coalmine finished killing him off. He’d managed to avoid suffocation down in Patriot Coal’s number seven, but the coal had collected slowly, a breath at a time, like silt in a creek bed. Now it was smothering him from inside. I knew he was bad off because all the pride he’d had to swallow to make the call, to speak up when he heard my voice say hello; we’d had our differences, almost come to blows more than once.
The Trash Man’s Daughter
by Vic Sizemore
She was one grade above Malachi, but two years older. Her name was Lydia Cumba, and in Malachi’s fifth year, she showed him that life was more than toy cars, bicycles, and baseball. Lydia was seven and Malachi five when she tried to teach him about sex. To Malachi, sex was still a strange and forbidden world: his dad was a Fundamentalist Baptist preacher. Malachi heard an older boy at church call another boy a cunt, and carried the word home to use on Matthew—his mom rubbed Ivory soap on his tongue, made him rinse and spit, then did it to him again. His dad would not even use words like panties and boobs unless he was quoting an unsaved person.
Into the Woods by Vic Sizemore It’s Saturday and Aaron doesn’t have to work at either job. His girlfriend Monica is working on her honors project all day. He decides to drive out to Flat Top Mountain and run the trails. He’s been reading Annie Dillard—he wants to achieve mind-meld with a weasel. Or a deer or a bear. In those woods, it’ll most likely be a squirrel. He wants the epiphany, the light-filled tree. He wants a moment that […]