Contributing Writer, How We Do It: Black Writers on Craft, Practice and Skill, edited by Jericho Brown, published by HarperCollins, 2023.
The quiet Tidewater Highway passed wide fields, crossed shallow creeks, wound through meditative views of the Rappahannock River and dimly lit towns down the Virginia Peninsula on route to Hampton. Between teaching, I planned to explore the lands that Piper, a fictional character I’ve been writing about, might have traveled on his journey to freedom, and I hoped to learn something more about my own Virginia roots.
Read the full story: thelearnedpig.org/haunting-stones/9336
A Prayer for Mona
Sinful. It sounded like one voice, a chant. I couldn't tell who was speaking. Was it two men or six? Their voices grew loud as a giant bell. Dahlia, Mona cried, doubled over, her shoulders shaking. Standing between the two trees that led to what used to be home; she hung her head as I walked away. With every step, I coughed to clear the dust out of my mouth and remembered Mona’s sad shoulders.
The full story is published in Blackberry: a magazine.
The night I married, I was a girl knowing nothing of a woman’s thoughts or a woman’s hands. That was ten months ago. Our wedding room was on the upper floor separated from a smaller room by a skinny hallway and a flowered curtain that hid a storage nook. Saul pointed to the empty room and said our children would sleep there. Our bed had an iron headboard that leaned against the wall, across from a window. The headboard curved like double-dutch ropes and in the center was a flat metal disk painted with pink and blue flowers wrapped around green leaves.
Get ready for bed, he said and turned his back to me. I put down the bouquet of day lilies and undid the shiny pearl buttons of the white wedding dress like there was no rush.
The full story appears in Empty Nest Anthology KY Stories.
Piper raised his face to heaven and said a prayer. Gripping a flat stone, he took his time and dug a hole deep enough to keep scavenger animals away. He then laid Gabe’s body in it and piled dirt into the grave.
Piper stood, his head high, and jiggled his legs. Picking up his knapsack, he noticed a pistol near the soldier’s grave. He picked it up, and ran his fingers over the barrel, rocking the weight in his hand.
The full story appears in Kweli.