selected past writing at 42opus
Merritt watched Amrita lift her arms to the flock of sparrows heading south and mouthed the thought that clucked at her every day since their arrival in Toronto: I don't want to be here. The birds skimmed over the roof, wheeled, and faded to a darker blot in the clouded sky. Her daughter's slender hands, unmittened, trembled in the cold. Stirred by the birds' passing, the purple, gold, and silver ribbons tied around each stick-thin wrist fluttered upward. They were wings, Amrita explained as she scattered breadcrumbs across the tangled weave of frozen grass and weeds, wings to fly her home.
Any reader who believes the suburbs to be a cultural and spiritual wasteland will have their prejudices confirmed. And yet, Cusk's great talent as a writer is to complicate these tired notions and make them fresh and engaging. Her Desperate Housewives are not stereotypes, but unique and sympathetic characters. Cusk is masterful at capturing the ordinary moments of family life.
Yearly returners to the empty desert lots
blossom in this wintering.
2 September 2004 | poetry
Woznik ran the corner grocery until he saw a roach,
aisle three, between Life and Froot Loops, and went mad.
He died that year. Starved himself to death.