Publication Year: 2013
Published by: Wayne State University Press
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The day before Mrs. Brady’s annual tea for the residents of theMartha Mary Home for Working and Retired Women, EstherBirdwell, a retired teacher of domestic science, was prayingearnestly for something she did not want. She was praying that thedeemed. Esther could not bring herself to refer to them as prosti-tutes, or sex workers, which sounded like something to be consid-ered on high-school career day. She preferred the biblical word as...
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In all of his imaginings Luke Klein had not imagined himself injail. As in most things in his Detroit suburb, his cell, scrubbedclean, was upscale. There were even a few thumbed copies ofVanity Fair. Some preppy with time on his hands and no little tal-tearful to his parents, Luke was the jail’s only resident. His wife,furious with Luke. Luke’s foolishness would reflect on his father-in-law and his father-in-law’s business. Luke’s own partners would...
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...“Those fingers of yours are rather like clever mice running upmy legs.” All the while I was designing the costumes forChekhov’s Seagull, I gorged on the anticipation of havingcelebrated actor our Canadian Shakespeare festival has attracted.around him, waiting, hoping for some grand gesture or fatal slip.out while being presented to the queen. The official explanationwas that he had a virus, but word went around he was drunk again....
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Claudia turned from her painting to find Ralph, her husbandof fifty-two years, in her studio. All the way through the door.Seven years ago, after a critical remark about her work, sheforbid him entry, so his presence on this morning was more assaultthan trespass. At the time of his exile, Ralph retaliated by denyingClaudia his study. Boundaries in their spacious home in a suburbof Detroit were marked like the invisible fences put up for confin-...
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Iwasn’t happy at the thought of three of us in one room, but NewYork hotel rates and Tim’s enforced four-day workweek said that’s how it would have to be. My twenty-year-old daughterand I had roomed together at her high school softball tournamentsand on trips to audition universities, but I worried Emily would bearound as if it were a large sleeping dog. Tim complained. “Why“Dad, that’s disgusting. I’m not going to spend one second in a...
It's Going to be all Right
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When I was seventeen I started feeding babies at night. Forthree or four months at a time I’d stay in someone’s home. While the mother slept I’d prepare the formula, hold thebaby, fill the bottle, and pop the nipple in the baby’s mouth, andbirthday, picked out I was sure by his girlfriend. I had to sneak intothe family’s pattern, and it always took a while. Some families saideverything, their lives spilling out. I’d know what they were think-...
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Lisa and Ralph had been married for three years. In the pastwhen Ralph traveled, Lisa remained at home, but these breaks in their relationship had become more and more likeputting down an uninteresting book: there seemed to be little rea-would be mortal. Ralph suggested Lisa travel with him on his up-Ralph revised the psychological testing program of a Philadelphiaployees who set fires in wastebaskets or whose obsessions would not...
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...“We’re out of our minds to drive into Detroit at night.” Liz Grayton was waiting for her husband, Tom, to fasten her bra strap; something her own fingers, stiff and knobby, could no longer do. She was cautious, less trusting thanher husband. Her family had been larger than his, and so she had“I don’t like being a prisoner in my own home.” His voice wasmild, amicable. His appearance was relaxed; age and gravity loos-...
When the Children Grow Up
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Tom Grover’s school bus was twenty minutes behind schedule, but that was normal for the first day of school, when mothers dragged out their good-byes to little ones, though a few of themothers looked downright relieved. The long stretches of countryempty acres of jack pine and pin oak. Much of the stands of poplaring, straggled out of their houses defiantly wearing shorts and flip-flops. Out of habit and temperament, Grover was sympathetic, be-...
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Emily was getting supper so I answered the door, turkey feathers in my hair and clinging to the wool of my sweater, turkey manure on my shoes. It was Toivo Hautala, whose dark, town in northern Minnesota, where I intended, finally, to write thepoems that would bring me if not fame at least recognition, and ifnot that, the sour peace of the resigned. Then there was always thethings: you hear it mentioned on national weather forecasts—on...
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Martha shifts the car lights from bright to lose some of the snow swirls. Squirrel Road is slick with ice. In her headlights the tree trunks are black patent leather. This December like herself is keeping an eye on ice. While Martha drives throughthe early morning hours, Janice, two thousand miles away, is up ina plane tracking icebergs in Baffin Bay. Janice joined the navy andwent to weather school. Now she flies all over spotting icebergs in...
Keeping your Place
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Amid the seeming confusion of our mysterious world, individuals are so nicely adjusted to a system and the systems to one another Anne pushed open the door and away went a mouse, leaving the cabin sadly empty. The welcoming familiarity of everything was a reproach, for she had agreed to tear down the familycabin for the government’s better purposes. She waded into the re-ceding tides of accumulated life. This was her last visit to the...
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Page Count: 296
Publication Year: 2013
Series Title: Made in Michigan Writers Series