And the more I realize that what started as an alibi could be a salvation. Yesterday, I flushed the rest of the pills down the toilet, all at once. They flocked out of sight like a swarm of tiny pink beetles. 

Issue 24 2013 Prize Winners

I’d sit there and look at the glossy paper in my lap, at the strings of black letters arranged in neat columns on the shiny vellum, my twenty-four-year-old son next to me in his infusion chair joking with the nurses or listening to his headphones or watching something on his computer, not looking at me or the magazine.

The Liver Nephew

And so Parker didn’t say no, but he didn’t say yes. He had conversations with his uncle’s physicians, both the primary-care doctor and the hotshot guy in charge of the transplant team, who spoke rapidly and repeated himself, a verbal twitching. The only clear thing that Parker recalled from the conversation was the number two: two percent mortality rate among living donors.

Ghon Focus

He had the urge to immediately order a CT scan, but the patient being his daughter, he didn’t have the luxury of calling the shots. His mind instead wandered to the more obvious epidemiologic questions: How? When? And from where?

Stray Gods

They bring the leftover food from the dhaba into the woods and eat in torchlight. When they play chase after, they aren’t Madhu and Boy. They’re the mythic boy gods, Krishna and Balarama, and Ajay, one of the many demons that the brothers chase and vanquish.


He asks if he can put the radio to a country station, which I can’t stand, but the guy is going into space for a year so I let him. Who knows what kind of reception he’ll be able to get up there.

Snow Over Hartford

The kid cleared his throat with a dry, hollow cough, like nails rattling around in his neck.  Mulvaney passed him the water cup, directed the straw toward his lips. From the hallway he heard the yelp of a police radio—the Hartford cops, pacing the floor, waiting on him, drinking hospital coffee. 

Hallandale Beach, 1987

It is not a miracle of faith, but a miracle of perseverance that delivers them both to high ground, the boy wincing under her bruising grip, protesting, I was joking, I could stand all the time, and the Bubbe, her dress soaked, her mound of blond hair slumped to one side.

Mushroom Death Suit

The ebb of machines was constant beneath the murmur of nurses and, when I strained to listen, faint sobs. I looked out the sugary windows in my room. An empty freeway was like river water from up high, curled through the fog and flat strip malls. The hospital was near the airport and I could hear the planes leaving and coming into the city.