Fall 1961 • Vol. XXIII No. 4 FictionOctober 1, 1961 |

The Short Rope

Each time the Negro came out to take the empty glasses and freshen the drinks, the atmosphere on the porch changed completely. In between his visits, the men sat on their backsides, muddy boots propped up anywhere—there were eight or ten of them on the narrow porch—and talked with thin lack of direction. They were bored from the afternoon's fruitless hunting and the night's slow drinking, and all the time he was not with them, the Negro was in their minds as a hidden reservoir of delight, secret honey in the bole of their ennui: they thought of him as loveable and amusing (better than any pet they had ever had), bizarre and totally unlike themselves, still entirely their own. Yet the moment he appeared on the porch, their shoes clumped to the floor, they straightened up and began to watch him with careful, crafty faces, like men who were committed to a game of chance against him in which everything they believed in and cared deeply about was at stake, and the attention of each m

Already have an account? Login

Join KR for even more to read.

Register for a free account to read five free pieces a month from our current issue and digital archive.
Register for Free and Read This Piece



Or become a subscriber today and get complete, immediate access to our digital archives at every subscription level.

Read More

Hanging Hair

By Jack Thomas Leahy

Each time the Negro came out to take the empty glasses and freshen the drinks, the atmosphere on the porch changed completely. In between his visits, the men sat on […]

Subscribe

Your free registration with Kenyon review incudes access to exclusive content, early access to program registration, and more.

Donate

With your support, we’ll continue 
to cultivate talent and publish extraordinary literature from diverse voices around the world.