1. Australian. a boisterous party or celebration.

The knock on the door is like the crack of a whip at the circus–loud and arresting. This week it bellows a tone of timidity, nauseating me.

Landis and Minnie are incessant. I know it’s them before I even turn around.

This is their Friday night ritual.

I begin to rub my temples, ready to feign some illness worthy of Continue reading





  1. works, especially writings, produced in one’s youth: His juvenilia were more successful than his mature writings.
  2. literary or artistic productions suitable or designed for the young: publishers of juvenilia.

“So…any news?”

My mother’s questions are always pointed, speaking volumes. I am hesitant to answer. My response will be the same as it has been for the last two years: No.

No, there are no new job prospects that would advance my career, which astounds my parents–considering how much they shelled out for my tuition–and there are no burgeoning relational opportunities on the horizon, which my mother frequently balks at, given my “outstanding gene pool and pleasant nature.”

The simple question fills the space between us like a heavy curtain, a thick partition separating expectations from reality.

Her eyes search my face, extracting my response from fidgeting fingers and my wavering gaze. She presses her lips together in a thin line, resisting the urge to Continue reading




  1. inspiration; an impelling mental force acting form within.
  2. divine communication of knowledge.

There are things only fathers can share with their sons.

I know that now that I have little eyes watching me, little ears recording my words and even mimicking the way I say my words.

When I was younger I used to cringe when my dad would amble into the living room and park himself silently by our mammoth television set that seemed anchored to our family room floor. Inside my stomach would knot as I resisted the urge to look up, knowing his steady silence could only mean it was time for one of our “young man” talks.

My father said few words. Our talks were tortuous.

And after being blindsided by our detailed talk about Continue reading



  1. frenzied; agitated; unrestrained.
  2. (initial capital letter) of or relating to a Corybant.

It’s one of those nights again. The nights when I’m startled awake. Usually it’s a nightmare that jars me. This time it’s the thunder. It’s one of the reasons I hate the Midwest, with it’s thunderstorms that seem to shake the very foundations of our three-bedroom house.

I’m so startled that I reach out for you. But your side of the bed is cold, empty and my soul starts to bleed again.

It’s like this most nights, waking from one nightmare into another one, only this other nightmare Continue reading




  1. Latin. marvels; miracles

My mother was a superstitious woman. When I was younger, she would walk the five blocks with me to school every day, regardless of the weather, unless a black cat happened to walk past our stoop as we were exiting our brownstone. On those days she would stop abruptly and block me from descended the concrete steps, shielding my eyes as if she was holding me back from a gruesome crime scene.

She’d usher me inside and we’d read the newspaper or one of her encyclopedias all day, “to make up for what you’re missing in school, Anna.”

For my mother, being superstitious was fine, but ignorance was intolerable.

“Evil may be trying to perch on our front step, but we’re not going to let it ruin your education.”

One day, during one of our impromptu homeschooling sessions I was reading through the entry on Continue reading




  1. Literary. powerful; mighty; potent

Thick heat wove its way throughout the jungle, like an unseen predator stalking its prey. It beckoned us toward lethargy. Somehow each movement felt stiffer than the last, as if the weather could somehow atrophy our bodies.  But it was more than the heat that was our problem, it was the lack of water that made us uneasy.

The rainy season had been paltry on its best days, and now, after two crescent moons, it was hard to deny that the water supply hadn’t severely receded.

I blinked back the severe sunlight. Without water, even my eyes seemed dry and tough. My mind seemed to slowly follow what was happening around me.

“He’s going to lead us to a better place, Evory…” Kam, my childhood friend, sounded almost wistful as she whispered to me in hushed tones, as if Continue reading



  1. encouraging a person to learn, discover, understand, or solve problems on his or her own, as by experimenting, evaluating possible answers or solutions, or by trial and error: a heuristic teaching method.

Life is pretty dumb without Nana Bettes in it. Most of the time I sit on the porch swing, not swinging, but just staring off into space as I think about Nana. Sometimes I like to sit at her grave and just talk out loud, but Carter caught me there a couple days back and threatened to disown me or tell our parents that I was crazy and obsessed.

I asked him what Nana Bettes would say about him disowning his older sister. He left me alone after that.

My parents want me to talk, but I never have too much to say until I Continue reading