Shortly after I was asked to design this edition of Zoetrope: All-Story, I experienced the sudden loss of a sibling. Making is the healthiest way I know how to process this sort of thing—whether through art or music or writing, it’s a way to keep going, to find out what’s still in there when you feel there’s nothing left.
With the loss of close family or a friend comes the loss of a corroborator. Someone to confirm past events, to laugh at inside jokes, who can say a million words with . . .
That was the day the hyena came for him, and never mind that there were no hyenas in the South of France, and especially not in Pont-Saint-Esprit, it was there and it came for him. The truly mystifying thing, the thing he never could quite manage to assimilate no matter how many times Maxime Bonnet, who read the newspapers from beginning to end every day, tried to explain it to him, was how a hyena could emerge from a loaf of bread. It made no sense. And what of Marie Lavigne, whose hyena was a two-headed . . .
“Good day, sir,” Nick says to the stranger, who is lying in Nick’s nest. He is surprised that someone could find the hidden place. He himself often gets lost when he looks for it. He always pretends to have another destination in mind. Sometimes the nest is tricked, and reveals itself.
In the nest is a bed of dry grasses, wilted rose petals, feathers lost by hasty birds, sloughs abandoned by cunning . . .
Dear Mom, I’m running away for good. With regrets, your slap-faced daughter, she wrote in lipstick on the bathroom mirror before heading out the back door, letting it spring behind her in a slam.
She was just shy of sixteen, with hazel-brown eyes and full lips and a tooth gap that Billy found endearing.
Haight-Ashbury boys incarnated across the Great Plains, one shithole town to the next until you got to Michigan, . . .
It was precipitous when the man, bearded and unremarkable, approached me on the street and spoke very directly of what he desired.
I am looking to become more Irish, he said. Can you help me?
Come again, I said, I am only on holiday here myself.
He repeated his ambition and I . . .