Winter 2002 • Vol. XXIV No. 1 FictionJanuary 1, 2002 |

Come Sta? Come Va?

On the phone, with the husband, I thought the name was Tuttle. But it turned out he had trouble with his r's. The wife, when I arrived at their house, said she was Jane Turtle. The dog, a sad-looking springer spaniel who leaned into her legs, was Cleveland, she said. "He'd like you to shake his hand." I bent down and we shook. Cleveland was nine, she said. The parrot, Warren, was forty, her age actually, she said, taking me up to his cage. "He enjoys sitting on our shoulders. If you wouldn't mind? In the evenings?" "For how long?" I said. "Oh," she said, "not long." He was red and blue and sat on his swing hunched into himself like Uncle Sam with a hangover, and when I made eye contact I could swear he said, "Get lost." Jane Turtle was tall and thin, in drab granny clothes, and she spoke as if we had already struck a deal and now I should pay attention. I followed her through the kitchen—which had baskets of laundry to get past, lumber on the counters, tools al

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Gary Gildner has received a National Magazine Award, Pushcart prizes in fiction and nonfiction, and the Iowa Poetry Prize for The Bunker in the Parsley Fields (Iowa, 1997). He's read at the Library of Congress and on the ferry crossing Lake Michigan. Rita Moreno reads his poem “In My Meanest Daydream” in When It Was a Game. Gildner’s most recent collection of stories, his fourth, is The Capital of Kansas City (BkMk, 2016). In addition to eight volumes of poetry, Gildner has published two memoirs: Memoirs: The Warsaw Sparks (Iowa, 1990; Nebraska, 2008), and My Grandfather’s Book (Michigan State, 2002). A collection of personal essays, How I Married Michele, will appear in 2020 from BkMk. He lives in Arizona’s Catalina Mountains.

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A New Song

By Gary Gildner

On the phone, with the husband, I thought the name was Tuttle. But it turned out he had trouble with his r's. The wife, when I arrived at their house, […]

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