When she was a little girl, The Woman lived in a landlocked place, a town with more cows than people. She knew only the faces of her mother and the two neighboring households, and of the flowers in the yard — Blood Sage, Virginia Iris, Partridge Pea…These she studied with her entirety, spending little time with anyone but her mother and the plants.

The Woman’s mother was known for her nerves, always in a state of near or realized panic. In these fits, she clung to the heart-shaped locket which hung around her neck. On the day she died —…

There is a town in California filled with headless men. I drove past it, once, on a move from South to North, and saw a strawberry field where farmers worked without their heads. They stood in lines of tens and twenties, backs pressed against the sun, and knelt down in synchrony to pick ripe fruit from ripe plants.

I pulled my car over to buy their fruit; one carton for $6 was steep, but the price was one that reflected novelty, and so I was willing to scrape together the coins and dollar bills which littered my center console.


an excerpt from “Consider This”

We pulled up to Neven’s house, some hours or days later. It was painted black now, from the darkness or from frame of mind. I tumbled out of the car with my thoughts of derailed trains staying seat-belted inside and headed straight for the bathroom. The contents of the day — the beach, the cocaine, the waltzing, the little yellow houses — splashed from mouth into toilet bowl. I flushed them all goodbye, wiping my face with the back of my hand.

The smell of vomit sticks around longer when you have a beard, I came to learn as I…

an excerpt from my novel, “Consider This”

Losing someone is a brutal introduction into heartbreak for most. For others, it’s a conclusion. See, there are times when a loss is so hard to bear, it feels impossible — and sometimes it is, impossible. When that is the case, when the improbability of moving on outweighs any optimistic disposition, those some will choose to create more loss. Except, it doesn’t feel like a choice, for them. It’s a remedy. It’s the same as asking a critically ill patient if they want an antidote. Yes! Of course! End my suffering! And so those few will quit their own lives.

an excerpt from my novel, “Consider This”.

When I was very small, I found goodness in everything which approached me. I’d reach up to the hands of tall, strange men and take them in my own, mistaking them for my father, and with little remorse, I’d be returned to my family. This happened on more than one occasion, in theme parks and county festivals, and as I grew older, I was taught that tall, strange men should be viewed with caution, only approached if necessity compelled it.

As the years bore on, I found myself shrouded not in the warmth of love, or the ease of light…

words sifted from mouth to palm,

typed and intentional but

meaningless if they land without

interpretation, a manual-

tell me: this is what i mean.

you speak with an unsure…

sweeping discomfort

under the more tolerable,

i will call this excerpt:

“the sadness, manageable”.

i eat strawberries,

washed and wet in their carton,

think of missionaries,

selfish, and indulgent.

i feed myself, no one else,

sink hollow teeth into whole fruit,

this indoctrination is only for self,

i, not they, have nothing to lose.

fine wines and finer destructions

exist on this plane of delicacies.

in this vain of constructions,

god creates the seven seas.

one for those who want to drown,

another for those who care to swim,

none of which i call my own,

but still, i will…

like the greek,

in statue and in muse,

you arrive bearing mythos,

disclosing what you choose.

in tales of

eternal uphill,

you let the world slide away,

condemning us to still.

amidst stone

built stories of gods

and their trysts, sweet and fickle,

your name remains alone.

to love a

sphere is to love the

lightness that dwells amidst stars,

the her you call Moon.

she cannot

touch you here or there,

you cannot rest your hand on

her face, brush her hair.

you claim her

as your own— stubborn

little fool! her words filtered

by space become yours.


The parking space beneath the tree is gone when I get home. Instead, I park across the street, where I’ll accrue a parking ticket in the morning. But I don’t know that yet.

There’s nothing new to look at. The sky is overcast, hued white and gray with the potential of rain, but it’s an idle threat. It won’t rain for another three days. But I don’t know that yet.

I pick up the book I’d brought in from my car. Kindred by Octavia Butler. One I’d put off since December, when it’d first landed on my shelf. I’ll start…

Driving through those self-service car washes, the ones with the rainbow foam and the giant blow dryers, feels like a full-body cleanse. Sure, my sweater is clinging to my arms, because I forgot to shower this morning and I left the seat warmer on high, because it was 45 degrees when I got in the car, but here, I am clean. I can’t see anything but the time passing on my dashboard and the soap sliding on and then off the windshield. There’s no one watching me, there’s no one to watch. …

Natalie Hollander

writer. self-indulgent and deflective.

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