Aftermaths (Three Stories)

Today we made a bonfire. Your story in things, its cross-stitched lie, up in smoke. Face wily on every channel—you when you sneaked up, surprised me; you when you squealed and ran, said “Boo!”

It isn’t until Fifth Street that I realize he, too, is tailing someone. When I turn around a man’s eyes drop. Face a mask until he stops, squares his shoulders—and darts a look behind him, too.

Just kids: a wave of giggles over a name in Young America.
So why this queasy calm? These shallow breaths?
Why this jaw now set against legions—the damned human race going back?



Stephen Delaney writes short fiction, essays, and book reviews. His work has been published in, among other places, Crazyhorse, Euphony, Per Contra, matchbook, Gingerbread House, and The Believer online. He tweets on writing craft as @marginalwords.