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I had no magic as a child. I would have used it if I had, to stop the Boots from kicking me where I hid. Flat against the bedroom floor with the floor of the sky just inches above my nose, I knew no safer, more anonymous place to be, Read the rest of this entry »

I picked up the phone and Mom was on the line. Mom! Dear Mom! On the phone! Well! What do you know! I heard the fake smile in her voice. She hadn’t dialed and I hadn’t dialed. Our phones had both rung and we had both answered: the network was trying something new. Read the rest of this entry »

I promised my daughter my heart, forgetting it wasn’t mine. You were there, fat with her, already weary of the burden and beautiful, intolerably beautiful. You made demands: a hairbrush, a mirror, not that hairbrush, ice yes but not ice chips, a delivery date— Read the rest of this entry »

When the night voices tremble in your heart, so do you hear where each of us is, except for me, except for the one who doesn’t call. Your bed is damp with not knowing. Left to the black glass and right to your husband, you shake your head No all night. Read the rest of this entry »

—What does she look like?
—I don’t know who you mean.
—The slut your father’s sleeping with.
—Oh. There’s no such person.

I began to follow her then, in anticipation. Read the rest of this entry »

I don’t know this man across the table but if we’re dating, I’m a reasonably lucky woman, depending on my age, my looks. I don’t know much. A plate of eggs and bacon before him, scrambled soft, I believe they call it and nearby, toast in uneven stacks, so the meal is underway. Is this breakfast? Read the rest of this entry »

They could be sisters, Rachel and Ayat, 18 and 17, dark and doomed. Now departed they are photographs, not girls; they are headshots looking forward, side by side on newsstands and on TV screens, never meeting. They never met. Read the rest of this entry »

The day I nearly lost him, he was such a little man. Rolling his miniature suitcase down the concourse with his boarding pass, threading his way through the taller adults, he looked back just once like a confident boy friend, roguish that he was in the lead, then disappeared from the face of the earth, a suddenly vulnerable child without his mother. Read the rest of this entry »

He climbs the same hill every day and, until there’s a day without news, the papers will keep on coming. At his age, he already knows to come down hard one foot at a time and press his whole weight onto that pedal, to lean his body over the basket, and look uphill, and swing his ropy shoulders above the handlebars and lead with his head forward, to overbalance the load that loves the ground and the machine that wants to roll backwards. Read the rest of this entry »

Sons make choices and, like it or not, it’s the mother’s job to support, which is to say I never liked his wife. A charming boy, he’s needed a lot of support. I don’t like thinking of him there, fragile in the heartless city, cocooned in that apartment alone with her, turning into what. Read the rest of this entry »

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299-WORD NOVELS

Character, conflict, emotional impact. And sentences! Everything you want in a novel, without one extra syllable.

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The pen name David B Dale honors my parents Beatrice and Dale. David+B+Dale = davidbdale

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