“Syntagm” at Moon Milk Review

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My short story, “Syntagm” is now up at Moon Milk Review. This was a difficult one to write, based on the events that inspired it, and I’m pleased that the strangeness of it relies neither on typical genre conventions nor magical realist conceits—both of which are my go-to weird-tools.

In our first language, things come to mean otherwise. When we say Are you guys ready?, which means, primarily, “. . . to do something,” we are saying, now, (especially now) We are all for one, which is a thing long-haired adolescents among the post oaks and greenbrier in the undeveloped acreage against Veterans’ Park, twenty feet above the creek bottom, fists and rope-swings, around illicit sleepover campfires, and the rites of our first secret society, and over film canisters of pilfered loose-leaf tobacco curling smoke in pilfered fathers’ pipes, and thoughts like small secrets of the girls we don’t speak to, say to each other. It is a thing we say to each other. We create our first language from our first language, altering it into something that appeals to us. And now we mean “Are you guys ready?”