I've forgotten what stories these were attached to, but these are just some short, practice, fiction blurbs. They were meant to be paragraphs inserted into the middle of different, already-written stories by other authors.

(After: “’You don’t know me!’ the girl shouted, chin high, and ran till her ribs ached.”) Ran until her feet were the numb, sooty, friable rocks strewn over the field. The sun in the pale white-blue sky was jarring back and forth in the corner of her eye. Bouncing back and forth, a swinging bulb, bare over the powdery pines. She trotted until a glaring rock stubbed her toe. She slid the seeds off of the ryegrass and clenched them tight in a sweaty palm and then opened it. The seeds stuck and fell like bugs or dirt in the yellow light. Without reason and they burned like daggers in the creases of her fingers. She jammed three stalks in her mouth, sucking the bitter acidic stems, tasting the shoots and running her hands over the tips of the straw grass that itched her calves. She rubbed the irritated skin and yelled at the angling bracketed tree branches in her path. Unblinking, she sat, colorless and feral with her back to the pitted uneven tree trunk and rubbed a silky weed over her closed eyelid.

(After: “I look up at the tree and I think I am at home."): Mother always had neat, prim hands, pale as an egg with nails curved gently across the top. She’d hold thin knuckles to her


forehead and display the soft underbelly of her forearm, gentle as a feather, to the powder blue wood on the porch ceiling, breathing in and out with the hot wind. Whenever we went out to the store, she’d skim her hands into small, white gloves, the finger pads a bit grey and pilled. Those were the days my mother would grab our hands and pull so that my elbow hurt and my brother would look startled and walk with an open mouth while I tripped over my toes to keep up. I could be an animal then, at that nine-o’clock-in-the-early-sun hour and curl into a shape like a ferret, all dirty and brown in the sunlight. I would never be clean or smooth.

(After: “The voices and the shapes and the nights filled with visions ended abruptly several weeks ago. I take it as a sign.") On the subway last month, there was a period of time where I sat next to a man with wilting, brown skin who looked at his knees with sad eyes. With one knobby hand, he clutched a blue plastic lunch box that had a picture of a well-dressed man and a woman in a red dress taped to it. The tape was yellow and fraying.

“Is that your son?” I asked the fourth day I saw him.

With a prolonged nod, he ran his thumb over the faces. “He’s in sales. Sold two hundred thousand vacuum cleaners in ’98, you know.”

His other hand was busy creasing pinched hills into his khakis.

The subway drifted to a stop, and people picked up their leather bags and purses and clutched at the silver poles.

“He looks like a nice boy.” I said and fingered the gold watch on my wrist. Vikram had always worn it on special occasions or when we went to get tea with the Indo-Canada Society down in the Dhongre section of town.

The man dipped his head and heaved himself up, using the subway pole as support. Holding the lunch box firmly in his right hand, he looked toward the door, toward the people pressing outward. He faltered for a moment, stepping back on his heel, but then, regaining his composure, he shuffled forward with fixed eyes and was lost in the crowd.