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The Wedding Visitor

by Elizabeth Spencer

ZYZZYVA Volume 29, #2, Fall 2013

It seemed a good thing to do and because he hadn’t come there in so long, he went slowly. Approaching the house from the road before it spiraled up the drive, he sat for a while and gave it a long look. Like many Southern houses, the original structure was almost lost among the many extensions. There was the added side porch where everyone lived out each day, enjoying sun through the enveloping series of windows. He recalled another, earlier porch out back, screened in, added to escape the hot summer nights. They had slept under mosquito nets and hoped

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The Almeda Fire: Rogue Valley, Oregon

by Octavio Solis

Driving down Pioneer Road to Colver Road in Phoenix, Oregon (12/18/20). Credit: Otavio Solis As the weather report had promised, the morning was clear and blustery, the aspens outside clicking their leaves like maracas. I slurped the dregs of milk from my bowl of cereal, stepped outside to head to my studio, winked into the brightness and saw the plume. An immense bulbous cloud of pearly grey smoke billowing high into the blue. It loomed so large that for an instant a jab of panic seized my chest. Fire. Just as we had feared. All the day and night before,

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Anyone Can Do It

by Manuel Muñoz

ZYZZYVA Volume 34, #2, Fall 2018

Her immediate concern was money. It was a Friday when the men didn’t come home from the fields and, true, sometimes the men wouldn’t return until late, the headlights of the neighborhood work truck turning the corner, the men drunk and laughing from the bed of the pickup. And, true, other women might have thought first about the green immigration vans prowling the fields and the orchards all around the valley, ready to take away the men they might not see again for days if good luck held, or even longer if they found no luck at all. When the

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Shop Talk: Kate Reed Petty

by ZYZZYVA

Kate Reed Petty

Kate Reed Petty’s story “Mr. Pink,” about a disgraced screenwriter’s attempt to manage the online response to his public scandal, is featured in Issue 120. With its focus on social media platforms like Twitter and the way we use film to help interpret our experiences, “Mr. Pink” was perfectly suited for inclusion in The Technology Issue.

Kate Reed Petty’s first novel, True Story, was published by Viking in 2020. Her fiction has appeared in Electric Literature, American Short Fiction, and elsewhere. She spoke to Editorial Assistant Zack Ravas about “Mr. Pink” and the themes prevalent in her work.

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In the Black, With Jessica

by Christian Kiefer

The sound of a car gearing up the ashen road. Chuck thought at first that it had to be someone from Cal Fire or another crew but then the radio crackled and Bob told him it was a civilian. “Copy,” he said, and then, after releasing the button: “Fuck.” No part of him that was not exhausted: his skin, his hair, his stubbled beard, his heart, his soul—all of it coated with a layer of colorless powder that clotted his lungs and filled his nose with viscous gouts of gray phlegm that he repeatedly blew into the ash at his

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Paragraphs on Ice: Episode 2

by ZYZZYVA

Paragraphs on Ice: Andrew Sean Greer & Daniel Handler

How do certain sentences work on us as readers? What can we say about the beauty found in select pieces of prose? Daniel Handler and Andrew Sean Greer—best-selling authors and friends—take you along with them as they delightfully explore their favorite passages of writing in their video series for ZYZZYVA Studio.

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Three Windows Onto Rome

by Kirstin Valdez Quade

Santi Quattro Coronoti On the right wall of the basilica is a fragment of a fresco of San Bartolomeo. He’s a bearded old man, mouth obscured by damage, his eyes suspicious. His own wrinkled pelt is thrown over his shoulder like a traveling cloak. No longer the cheerful dandy, dressed in white with swinging purple tassels. (He took good care of that white tunic; for twenty years, across all those distances, it never showed signs of wear.) No, there on that wall, he lives immortal as he died: flayed bare. The son of the one who holds the waters on

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A Curse on Chavez Ravine

by Lou Mathews

I’m reading in the newspaper today and I see that Peter O’Malley wants to build a new football stadium, next to Dodger Stadium. Some of the neighbors are upset. ¡Que surprise! Some of them have been upset since the first O’Malley built the first stadium. That one was Walter. A big, smart, mean Irishman from Brooklyn. Muy duro. Always with a cigar Cubano. He had a full set of cojones and he always got what he wanted. Ask Brooklyn, they’re not over it yet. A good Catholic of course. He made sure the cardinal got good seats. The son they

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Ramiro

by Patricia Engel

Ramiro will tell you himself he was just another slum kid from El Cartucho. He lived in a one-room apartment with his mother and another family of seven who let them take up a corner. They’d come from Pereira with Ramiro’s father when Ramiro was just beginning to walk, but his father got stabbed beneath his ribs while shining shoes in front of the Palacio Nariño and Ramiro and his mom had to find their own way. He’ll tell you his story like he was some kind of miracle, not getting into basuco like every other kid in the sector.

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Locking Down with the Family You’ve Just Eviscerated in a Novel

by Julian Tepper

On March 13, 2020, I was in Los Angeles, having flown there from New York for the launch of my latest novel. The event would take place at Book Soup on Sunset Boulevard, and we—my father, four brothers and stepmother, all locals, as well as my mother and son, who had come out west for the occasion—would have a night of celebration before I continued on with my promotional tour in points around the country. By afternoon, however, the book launch had been called off. That Friday the 13th in March, as you no doubt remember, was the day in

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In This Annihilated Place

by Wanda Coleman

ZYZZYVA Volume 28, #1, Spring 2012

“Cast ’em out! For he deceives us all!” Some call him Preach, others call him Crazy John. We’ve called him out of his Christian name so much we’ve forgotten it. Most of us snigger at his ranting, sometimes to his face, daring the retort if he’s bold enough to make one. At those moments, he tightens his jaws, screws his lips sideways, and those crystal blue eyes either haze over or flash depending on who’s doing the taunting. Rarely does he remain silent. Usually, he’ll spit some variation on it, like it’s the only quote he knows. Maybe it’s the

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My Brain’s Too Tired

by Wanda Coleman

Mrs. Jackson, we’ve sat in silence for over five minutes. Perhaps you need additional time to gather your thoughts. Would you like to continue our session or should we reschedule? Continue. I’m sorry I stopped talkin’. But the mere thought of what I have to say exhausts me. It’s so heavy, Dr. Flowers. It’s as if my brain is worn to a frazzle. I haven’t heard that expression in years. My mother always used to say that. Ha! You find something funny? No. Not a damned thing. Just the opposite. Tragic. The first shrink I went to was some prize

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