Spring 2009 • Vol. XXXI No. 2 FictionApril 1, 2009 |

The Bowmaker’s Cats

We'd been to the bowmaker's house before, but not recently, and never all of us together. We'd toured his workshop and house, seen his shelves of stacked bow blanks, his grove of aged Pernambuco logs lain horizontally in the basement, his ebony stumps for frogs and store of mastodon tusks for tips, his drawers of abalone shell, whale baleen, bits of lizard skin, and hanks of Mongolian stallion tail hair. His knives and planes and gouges and buffing pads and leathers. We'd watched him at work pedaling his antique jeweler's lathe, shorn gold filings piled on the floor around him. Watched him heat a straight length of faceted Pernambuco in the alcohol lamp and gently pry it back to the exact leg-bone curve in which it would serve the rest of its life. Lined up and hairless in his downstairs window rack to sun-cure, those bows were candy in the brain: sounds to imagine and not yet hear. Perfect, therefore, and better (maybe; almost) to look at than to play. Perfect, too, in the way we c

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Photo of Gregory Spatz

Gregory Spatz’s most recently published books are the novel Inukshuk (Bellevue Literary Press, 2012) and the collection of interconnected novellas and stories What Could Be Saved (Tupelo Press, 2019). His fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, New England Review, The Southern Review, ZYZZYVA, Santa Monica Review, The Iowa Review, and many other journals as well as in Glimmer Train Stories. Spatz is the recipient of an NEA Literature Fellowship and a Washington State Book Award. He directs the MFA program for creative writing at Eastern Washington University.

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We'd been to the bowmaker's house before, but not recently, and never all of us together. We'd toured his workshop and house, seen his shelves of stacked bow blanks, his […]

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