Mar/Apr 2015 • Vol. XXXVII No. 2 FictionMarch 1, 2015 |

The Grant Pill

Even before she said anything, I knew she wasn't my actual mother. As a boy the contrast between our appearances struck me: my broad cheekbones and straight black bangs seemed to contradict her red hair and wan complexion, like French vanilla ice cream coating a layer of sloe gin. Before the rains came in '86 and washed our house—crabby yard and all—off the hillside, I can remember hours spent studying the family portraits she kept on the walls of our living room, and how even the mother-son poses seemed imposed from without, as in a movie when the actors clearly aren't related. Beyond these peculiarities, she had a courteous, almost formal way of disciplining me, so unlike the other children I grew up with in the Harrow County classrooms. Their parents would wrench them close by the arms and swat and pinch, while she, at her angriest, approached my every misdeed like a lesson that required clear, regulated instruction. She loved me, certainly, but that bottom drawer in the hear

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Dominic Russ-Combs’ fiction has appeared in the Greensboro Review and the Carolina Quarterly. A graduate of the MFA program at Ohio State, he now serves as Helen DeVitt Jones doctoral fellow at Texas Tech. He's currently at work on a novel.

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