He sits in a creased maroon leather recliner with his feet flat on the rug. The book is slender, nearly weightless in his hands. The door of his tiny study is closed. He reads by the light of a lamp which sits on a dark oak desk now cluttered with a few opened books, face down.
It never ceased to amaze him when grown women, women with husbands and children, acted like they were vestal virgins. His own sisters pulled that one on him all the time, or at least they had when they were still actually treating him like a human being, before he’d had to sell his house and business in Cape Cod and move in with friends.
The first time my father tried to kill me I was seven. We had driven to the Miracle Mile strip mall at the edge of the city where Dad said he had to see a man about a horse. I sat in the backseat and when we parked Dad got out and told me he’d only be a minute. He rolled up the windows and locked the doors.
“I’ve always been interested in death and destruction — call it an early diet of horror fiction. But over the years I’ve become more aware of decay, the slow and steady side of impermanence. Decay doesn’t make for flashy conflict, but in some ways it’s more interesting. So I tend to write about all those themes in general — it’s pretty rare when I don’t.”
Rachel, oh Rachel! Mistress of my heart, irradiated queen of the desert, alien oasis, black-budget fever dream, ghost town of the future, sheepdog disco, heart of America. Shelter me in your double-wides, ll my ventricles with Alien Burgers, stun me with alcohol, swaddle me in the lights of your brilliant night sky.
The University of Michigan Library's Michigan Publishing maintains an electronic archive of past issues of Michigan Quarterly Review. To search through the complete electronic text of this archive you can use the search facility set up by Michigan Publishing