M

Woo

by Kim Chinquee

She sits at the counter, sipping the broth from her soup, lifting her long arm. Her elbow drags to the floor. It takes a lot of effort.

The broth is clear and the soup is filled with shells. She pulls out the mussels.

She’s the only one at the bar. Behind her, around a grill, sit families, and in the middle stands a man wearing an apron and a chef’s hat—she saw them when she entered. Now she hears metal clanging in patterns, people laughing, a projected voice saying, “Look.” She hears a sizzle. Smells.

She senses a big wide flame. Heat. She hears people saying, “Woo.”

At the bar, she faces a TV screen that shows tall black men in matching outfits, scrambling for a ball. A lay-up, then a rebound.

She used to play basketball, long ago, when her arms were still even.

She orders a martini. She looks at the arms of the wait staff: none of them with limbs neither short nor long. The wait staff seem alike: in their black shirts and long black hair, their olive skin, and she notices the shapes of their faces are different from the one of her twenty-five-year-old son.

She looks at the time on the wall. When the drink comes, she lifts it. It takes a lot of effort.


Kim Chinquee is the author of the collections PRETTY, PISTOL, and OH BABY. Her work has appeared in hundreds of journals and anthologies including NOON, DENVER QUARTERLY, CONJUNCTIONS, THE NATION, PLOUGHSHARES, INDIANA REVIEW, STORYQUARTERLY, THE PUSHCART PRIZE ANTHOLOGY, and others. She is an associate editor of NEW WORLD WRITING, editor-in-chief of ELJ (ELM LEAVES JOURNAL), and associate professor of English at SUNY-Buffalo State. Her website is www.kimchinquee.com.

What surprising, fascinating stuff can you tell us about the origin, drafting, and/or final version of “Woo”?

“Woo” was drafted using prompt words (I don’t remember the words.), and I’d been writing pieces including a character with one long arm. On revision, I moved lines and sentences around, cut a few, and took some lines from another story and inserted them. The repetition of “It took a lot of effort,” signifies, to me, the labor of being off-balance.

News

Congrats to Christopher Allen for having a work from HOUSEHOLD TOXINS being chosen to appear in BSF 2019 from Sonder Press.

Check out the write-up of the journal in The Writer.

New titles available from Robert McBrearty and Tori Bond.

Submissions

Poetry, creative nonfiction, and fiction/prose poetry submissions is now OPEN. Check out our new category triptychs! The submission period closes December 15, 2019; submit here.

Upcoming

12/09 • Foster Trecost
12/11 • Margaret Madole
12/16 • Janiru Liyanage
12/23 • Tanner Barnes
12/25 • Tara Campbell
12/30 • Caroline Firme
01/06 • Meg Eden
01/13 • Daniel Galef
01/20 • Francine Witte
01/27 • Abigail Manzella
02/03 • Julia Lynn Offen
02/10 • Jennifer Delisle
02/17 • Madison Frazier
02/24 • Kenneth Pobo
03/02 • TBD
03/09 • TBD
03/16 • TBD
03/23 • TBD
03/30 • TBD