From Merrill Gilfillan

Merrill Gilfillan’s book of selected and new stories, recently out, is delicious:

“Summer evenings when the light softens and the air sets, you will see boys materialize from various points of the little village and walk heavily to the playground of the knoll-top school. Two, three, four of an evening, they straggle in and take, each, privately, to one of the playground swings with a discreet distance between them and slowly begin to swing. They are lovesick Arapaho boys, sixteen and eighteen years old, and their swinging as the night falls is pensive and stop-gap. Their long black hair flows and buckles with their arcs. They gaze off at the tail end of sunflare behind the Wind River mountains or at the dusty river course, August-salty, to the east, below. They will swing in rhythmic silence through the sunset and well into the dark before they wander off in various directions and finally home.”

From Annie Kim

I’ve been getting to know the work of poet Annie Kim. Here’s part of her poem “Post-Colonial Album: 1980” from Into the Cyclorama:


raw fish bleeding through a pile of newspapers


a skinny road with no shoulders


plane trees, fresh tar and stale bus diesel, men

riding bicycles in white cotton masks, though not


necessarily in that order


stick of rice cake burnt on one side, the frayed gloves

handing it to me red, then I’m peeling back the foil


the ice beneath the snow is yellow

hard like an ancient scab


we sing carols on the dark drive home, we have


the only car in the neighborhood, a garden and a gate

that locks us in, there is no


natural order to recollecting this


see these sunlit windowpanes

I stare out this morning, how miraculously they fit


side by side



I also love this little gem from “A Rag For My Father”:


A father is a kind of trap

you could easily fall for.

A father is a type of map

you stupidly search for.