Since joining in 2008, I have found Fictionaut a wonderful place to read and discover great writing. Taking a turn at Editor’s Eye has been an honor, and like those before me, a challenge, since many of the stories I loved received more than 5 stars. However, there was no shortage of gems, and I’m happy to recommend them.
Amy Geeleher’s The Trappings of the Rabbit is bold and lovely, contained in a list of punchy, evocative sentences. Images pop up, raising questions about the narrator’s desire and motive. Who is this “darling” she or he is speaking to? Why is the dew “cagey” and darkness better “when the oxygen slowly stops”? There is violence here, and searching, for what? Art? Beauty? Death?
Lost & Found, by Miranda Merklein, is a tricky sort of tale. It’s hard to pull off recovery ward depictions without veering toward the cliché, but Merkelin does it by sticking to the particular, the mattress that it too short for its frame, the dented and scuffed door, the three-shift holding tank. The narrator’s body language, too, is so minutely told, her “finger looped around the key ring lid” of her “titanium water bottle,” containing all the dread and fear of seeing her loved one locked up, sporting a “new silver crop haircut,” a “mechanic crochet” who she begins to identify as the patient in the photos of the brochure they hand out, bent over a glass table to place a Black-eyed Susan in a trumpet vase.
I loved Jerry Ratch’s The Little Mouse Who Started Feeling Slightly Nauseous for its humor. This brief poem is the love-child of William Carlos Williams’ “This is Just to Say” and William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily.” Its magic is in the narrator’s complicity in the mouse’s suffering. “At some point,” the narrator says, the mouse will have to stop nibbling from the “moldy cake.” There it is! The narrator doesn’t say, don’t eat that moldy cake, or stop eating that moldy cake. No, Ratch gives us something better, something richer and more devious. Let us all eat cake!
Barnes has a great ear for listening in on conversations. Wonderland’s L.A. is noir at its best, its embattled characters driven by failure and lust. One young woman sits across from a cowboy who whispers in her ear. “Oh, no,” she said. “He’s just being supportive. I’d never sleep with someone just to get ahead.”
McKinstry-Brown’s Snow Angels (after Sandy Hook) works as an historical marker of loss, but also as an elegy for the children who “don’t know how the world emptied.”
Marcelle Heath is an associate editor for Wigleaf’s Top 50 and Copy Editor for Atomic Ranch. She works as a freelance editor in Portland, Oregon. Her website is http://www.marcelleheath.com.
Editor’s Eye is curated by Michelle Elvy (Fictionaut profile here). She writes and edits every day at michelleelvy.com, and readers can also find her editing Blue Five Notebook (with Sam Rasnake) and Flash Frontier.