DISINHERITANCE, a new collection of poems by John Sibley Williams, is getting great reviews. Check it out below:
Patricia Williams was a frequent poetry contributor to LAKE CITY LIGHTS. To learn more about her new book, go to the site below.
Jerry McGinley’s novel LAKE REDEMPTION is now available on Amazon.
We recently posted interviews with three of our authors: David Steingass, Kelly Cherry, and Ashlie Allen. To read what these writers have to say about themselves and about their approaches to writing , go to MENU and click on the in the authors’ names. We will plan more author talks in the future.
Rose climbed the stairs, her dog Stella panting by her side, her fifty-pound backpack banging against her leg with each step. She wished she had left it at the front door but her mom always complained about that and she was trying to be a better daughter. It was odd that her mom wasn’t home— after school, she nearly always was. It was also odd that Stella was carrying her dish in her mouth, a sign that she’d been fed. But Rose was brain-dead from pre-calc and didn’t give these unusual events much thought.
When she pushed her bedroom door open she dropped her backpack and screamed. Not really a scream: more of a gaspy, highpitched “Ah!” which immediately embarrassed her. It sounded girly, and she tried to avoid ever sounding girly.
Jacob, her boyfriend and object of her scream, sat on her bed, propped up in the corner where the two walls met. His shoes were off and her bag of Red-Hot Cheetos was open on his lap. His fingers were red. She wondered if a boyfriend could be considered an ex-boyfriend if you intended to break up with him but hadn’t informed him yet? It was kind of like the tree falling in the forest question.
“Oh my God! You scared the shit out of me!” Her hand clutched her neck; her heart was beating in her head.
“Hi, Rose,” he said.
“What are you doing here?”
“I wanted to see you. I had to see you.”
“OK.” But that didn’t explain anything. “Did you have to eat my Cheetos, too?”
“There’s still some left.”
“I know. I’m sorry.”
“How did you get in anyway?”
He sighed, rolled his eyes. “Everyone knows you keep your key under the flower pot on the porch.”
She just looked at him. She had been worried about him lately. There was the crying jag at Denny’s when they had run out of marmalade, and one day at school he had grated his fist against the metal vents of her locker, leaving bloodstains on the light blue paint. He had walked like a zombie down the hall, his knuckles dripping blood. Someone had snapped a picture and for a day it was the biggest thing ever.
“However, your mom was home so the break-in became unnecessary,” he said.
Your mom, she thought. So she was home? Rose’s mom had never liked Jacob. She considered him a bad influence, someone who could suck her under emotionally. For months she had almost ordered Rose to break up with him, all the time hoping she’d “make the right choice.” She never used his name—wouldn’t dignify him by naming him. “That boy is bad news,” she would say over and over.
Rose was suddenly angry. “You know what?” she said, but then stopped. Something in his demeanor. He looked so glum—so pitiful. As if he knew what was coming.
“I fed Stella,” he said. “And I let her out. Doesn’t that count for anything?”
Rose kicked her backpack out of the way and sat down on her rocking chair. Her clothes from the past week were spread all over the floor. It was embarrassing. And the Cheetos theft. Unforgiveable! She was simmering, not quite burning. She had to tell him the truth without making things worse.
As if anticipating this, he started to cry.
“Hold on,” she said.
“I love you,” he said.
“Please. It’s over. My mom was right about you. “
“You think?” He laughed.
“I can’t believe I even said that, but it’s true.”
“Let’s not worry what your mom’s got to say. There is literally nothing more she can say.”