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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 4: July 2020
Prose Poem: 279 words
By Mary Grimm

Inside/outside

 

The wind is blowing now—the sound, the movement—

You remember, I didn’t drive then. I was driven, I was the one who stayed home. You remember how they would leave in the morning, you remember how that was. He would leave and I would stay. The feel of the house then. Let the cereal bowls sit, let the clothes lie on the floor. There is inside the house and outside.

—all the trees, grasses, bushes waving dipping trembling, and the sound—

Outside: the yard, burned rectangle of grass, stunted, barren, the red rose wild by the garage. The tips of the grass are burnt yellow, savagely torn and bitten.

—the leaves and branches rubbing, rustling against each other—

No one goes in the garage for it is dangerous. Sharp things or rusty things, cans of old paint, old bottles half filled with poisons. The garage door is never opened. The car in the driveway does not run. Or it may run, but no one starts it up. It may be fixed later. No one is allowed to open its door and blow the horn.

—a very soft sound which rises in waves with the wind and subsides—

Even the corner store is in another country. There is the bus which goes downtown, but we have forgotten, we don’t remember the way to stand when the light is red, the special way to cup your hand for change, to eat a doughnut on break, in the coffee shop alone at a small table.

—the lapping coolness, the rising of my hair, its slight pressure on my skin. It’s almost summer now, we’re moving still through this not-so-new century.

Mary Grimm
Issue 4, July 2020

is the author of two books, both published by Random House: Left to Themselves, a novel, and Stealing Time, a story collection. She is now working on a dystopian novel about oldsters, and teaches fiction writing at Case Western Reserve University.

Soon after she committed to writing as a career in the mid-1980s, Grimm began publishing stories in such venues as The New Yorker, Redbook, Antioch Review, Beloit Fiction Journal, The Citron Review, and Tiferet Journal. Her work also quickly garnered numerous awards, including the National Magazine Award for Fiction for “We” (first published in The New Yorker on 17 October 1988 and then reprinted in her book Stealing Time in 1994).

Her long list of awards and grants include a Baker-Nord Senior Fellowship (2005), a nomination for a Pushcart Prize (2001) for her story “On Not Cleaning the House” and several stories named among the 100 Distinguished Stories in different years. She won an Ohio Arts Council individual artist fellowship in 1989 and was named the John Atherton Scholar for the famed Breadloaf Writers’ Conference in Vermont. In 1993, she won the Cleveland Arts Prize for Literature.

More on the Web: By, About, and Beyond

Mary Grimm on the Rituals and Stories of Summer by Deborah Treisman in The New Yorker (17 June 2019)

 
 
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