Regina raises herself like the dead to keep from dying, because grown women sleep lying down not sitting up, and when she lowers herself into the bed, she hears all the voices, James’ the most.

The Durham Hotel

If Eloise was tired, she didn’t know it. She sailed through college like a skiff on the Seine. She did a semester in Vienna, joined a sorority, kept long cigarettes in a golden snap-shut case in her purse, but only smoked them socially.

Wheels Family Fun Park

The night of grandpa’s funeral we all went out and sat on the stump where his oak tree used to be and considered the obvious: that if the tree was still there, grandpa would be too.

La Superior

Mari’s aunt has moon eyes and hair so shiny it reflects the colors of the pinatas hanging from the ceiling. She says hola, sobrina to Mari from behind the register and when she smiles her crooked teeth make her seem more beautiful instead of less.

Gibson Girl Vintage

Sometimes I pick up a piece of trash off the street and feel things I wish I didn’t — a crumpled can of Coke elicits a shock of sexual energy, a wilted balloon tied to a tree draws out a feeling of disappointment so profound I have to sit down on the curb to rest.

Hillandale Elementary

The wind blows through the pear trees at the top of the hill, a stream of white petals spinning through the air and past us, catching in our hair. One lands on my lip and I pull it into my mouth with my tongue, holding it there like communion.

Duke Park Bath House

I suppose I always knew mama was different, born in New York City, loud and full-hipped, with thick dark eyebrows that pushed down against her even darker eyes when she was angry, which was often.

The Durham Co-op Market

I find a tin of candies melted into their wrappers, a tiny book of love poems by a very sad poet, the crumbling skeletons of a palmetto bug, a pair of withered camel crickets, and the perfectly preserved shell of a cicada, copper eyes bulging.

The Regulator Bookshop

So, I ask myself: What will it bea soundless existence steeped in the solace of language and letters, or a raucous existence marked by danger and dereliction, dragging my books along with me in a dirty satchel laden with dreams and lembas bread?

Joe Van Gogh

Rosetta was thinking about how free it looked up there on the moon, so clean and airy, a place where even your own story couldn't weigh you down. 

Family Fare (Roxboro Road BP)

She called the weather man by his first name, “Greg,” and said it so lovingly, it’s like she had another son, but a wise, all-knowing one who could deliver us from whatever hell or highwater was coming.