“A Real Kicker”

He is there, Caitlin’s father, on the burnt brown summer grass, pulling weeds by the sidewalk and I do not know this is the last day I will see him—how my mama waits for him to say something, waits for him to recognize her, how she is standing there with her newly muscled arms fresh from Lindy Kramer’s weight-lifting class at the YMCA, it is amazing how many Delta women have signed up for this streamlined fish of a woman’s class, how she will push you harder than you’ve ever been pushed, further than you’ve ever felt yourself go, but today is the last day we will see him, Mama and me, on the sidewalk in front of Caitlin’s front door, we don’t know that he’ll be found curled around two guns in the garage, one swift bullet above his wife’s collarbone, but today it is enough to watch him pull weeds in his front yard, is it overgrown? full of dandelions? I can’t remember, it’s been twenty-four years and I’m a wife now, not a mother, and Caitlin just lost her first baby, only she didn’t tell me, Mama heard about it from her aunt’s best friend, and when Mama told me the word private flashed across my brain: Oh, Mama, it’s too private, I said to her, and she went, Nonsense, Sarah Baxter knows everything about it—a tubal pregnancy, they had to do a D&C, it was very recent, so I sent Caitlin an email, Sorry for your loss, and she wrote back: You are so sweet, my Aunt Hazel lived a long and full life—she was ninety-three years old, got to live in her own house until she died, raised five kids, volunteered for the Girl Scouts for sixty years, started weaving groups using her own looms, planted over a hundred kinds of day lilies, made divine plum jam, could sing and play the washboard—she was a real kicker.

Related Posts
Filter by
Post Page
Featured Fiction New Fiction Essays/Articles (all) Why I Write Advice / Suggestions
Sort by

“Tourists”

Coach unzips his blue tracksuit, zipper fizzling down the suede, as the wind carries the sound off the bluffs at the
2019-09-23 11:04:54
kyledillon

0

“We Need Stories”

I enjoy the tales we need to tell, the restless narratives that keep people from drinking bleach or
2019-09-20 23:44:43
rusheby

0

Why I Write: Jim Powell

Old School Mission [for “Why I Write”] I’m writing this essay in March 2018, eleven days out of an ele
2019-09-16 23:45:09
jepowell

0

“Pen — or Pencil — For Hire”

If the unfinished manuscript in your desk drawer is anything to go by, you have succumbed on occasion to the
2019-09-13 23:43:58
learmont

0

“Been Ingenious”

People called Ricky ingenious whether they thought it true or not. Most folks choose to remain blithely ignorant to
2019-09-09 11:06:24
jason-graff

0

“Seven Signatures”

I   Not his name or a first crush or even the harsh assertion of a cuss word but an arrow, carved
2019-09-04 09:41:26
acjones

0

“The Colors of Pain”

“Gut pain’s always the worst,” says the medic. I could tell him he’s right, but I want to keep my pain p
2019-09-02 10:58:28
skip

0

“There is Always So Much”

What we did that summer: we hung around torn-down barns and took photos of each other with that old camera and
2019-08-30 23:41:29
mattliebowitz4

0

Banding Together: Capturing Female Friendship in Fiction

On the last weekend of last November, I flew home to LA to see a band. My former roommate picked me up from the
2019-08-28 08:17:11
lfchristianson

0

“Rabbit County”

Jeremy said that one of Marsha’s rabbits got away again.  He told me last night while we were sitting in Dino’s wait
2019-08-23 23:40:04
asmith18

0

Anne Dyer Stuart

About Anne Dyer Stuart

Anne Dyer Stuart won New South journal’s 2012 prose prize and received the Henfield/Transatlantic Prize from the Joseph F. McCrindle Foundation. Her work has appeared in New World Writing, Lake Effect, Exit 7, Pembroke Magazine, Poet Lore, The Louisville Review, The Midwest Quarterly, Third Coast, Best of the Web, storySouth and elsewhere. She teaches at Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania.