A bird unbound


Credit: M. Jakubowski

A translator reached out to me last week after my short story, “New Names for the Dead,” appeared online asking if I’d allow him to publish a translation in Tamil. I gladly said yes. It’s the first time my work has been translated and it feels kind of miraculous to have a story of mine exist now in a language as gorgeous as Tamil.

The translator, who prefers to retain some anonymity (his Twitter handle is @thackli), also gave me permission to post some of his notes on the translation.

For reference, here is my story “New Names for the Dead” as it originally appeared at (b)OINKzine. (The story is summarized in the notes that follow in case you’d rather not leave this page.) And here is இறந்தவர்களுக்கான புதிய பெயர்கள், the Tamil translation.

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New fiction: Canopy

Fiddleblack Annual#2: Nights Like These

My short story, “Canopy,” appears in the latest print anthology from Fiddleblack.

It can be ordered online only and includes work by Justin Thurman, Michael Walsh, Kevin Catalano, Gillian Morrison, Dane Elcar, Karin Anderson, Shannon Perri, John McManus, Todd Grimson, and Elias Marsten.

Many thanks to Editor Jason Cook for his continued support of my work and so many other writers.

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gorse no. 2

The second issue of Dublin-based literary journal gorse will be published this month. It includes 285 pages of essays, fiction, and poetry by writers from around the world.

I’ve got an experimental review in the issue called “Kill Fee.” It sort of continues or echoes a narrative that began in a piece I wrote for 3:AM late last year.

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New story in Fiddleblack

Very happy to say that my short story, “Sharpening the Sickle to Shame the Scythe,” appears in Issue #16 of Fiddleblack.

It’s about the way people cope with guilt during the grieving process. So it’s a bit different from the kind of short stories I’ve published thus far.

Many thanks to editor Jason Cook for publishing this piece. He wrote this introduction to the new issue, which features wonderful poems by Brian Kubarycz and Elias Marsten, and stories by Anna Boorstin, Maxwell Howard, and Caitlin Woolley.

Down in It: Fiddleblack #16

Here’s an excerpt from my piece. Thanks for reading. And of course I’d welcome a chance to hear your comments about the story.

In the hours before Lauren Hunter-Aikens got the news she was stuck trying to revise a story she had written in her creative therapy group.

In the story, the narrator imagined that the news of her son’s death would come by phone. She would be at work drinking coffee, clicking with intense focus through documents on her computer screen. Her phone would buzz in her purse. Not wanting to disturb the office silence, she would answer right away and keep her voice low out of respect for her colleagues on the other sides of her cube.

The voice would ask if she were sitting down. She’d say yes, why? The person who’d called would say the preliminary things she had feared for so long. Then the voice would tell her that there had been an accident. Most often she imagined the voice telling her there had been a car crash, but also very frequently it was an accident at home, where a nanny watched the boy until she and her husband got back from work around five-thirty. The boy had died in a fall down the stairs or been poisoned with household chemicals. A few times she imagined the boy had choked on something she and her husband had neglected to clean up, such as a penny or a tire from a broken toy car. In any case, in that scenario an everyday object in their home had somehow killed the boy. In the story, the woman would wail when she got the news, slamming her phone against the desk, causing the people in the cubes next to hers to jump up and look over the wall, asking what’s wrong, what on earth has happened?

Invincible [new fiction]

Here’s a tiny story I wrote. Only publishing it here. Thanks for reading it!


The school bus made of fire stopped at the stops to pick up the children. One by one the kids all got on. The flames caught them in a bright orange embrace and as they sat down an incredible sky-blue glow formed around each young body.

As usual, none of the kids or parents screamed. It would take much worse than this to bend them out of shape; the children were, after all, made of glass: tempered, stained, bullet-proof.

The school bus drove across the snowy town of steel and brick. The children bounced along warm and bright, looking around with clear eyes, fearing nothing. Already they were trading stories. Your Dad said what? Your Mom hit who?