Coming Soon! A collection of nonfiction works by Stephanie Harrison: Men from a Broken Country

Cold Comfort

His words sound muffled to her, as if a Kleenex has been stuffed into the phone line: slightly smaller than a tennis ball … surgery Wednesday … back to work … home for dinner … love ya … and she sets the phone down and looks at the clock, and dinner is a yawning five, maybe six hours away, and her mind is filling with fragments-why didn't he just come home?-unconnected and uninvited thoughts that pour in through some leak in her skull, and if she continues to sit here she'll drown-why didn't he just come home?-but minutes later, in her car, the steering wheel locks, and it takes all of her concentration to remember how to jiggle the wheel, then when she finally does, the car takes over: it backs out of the driveway, slows to twenty mph in the school zone, stops at the stop sign, turns right onto Main Street, signals a left turn into Nordstrom's parking lot, and then somehow she's inside the shoe department, where sleek pumps are perched on pedestals, and two orderly rows of chairs face one another as if waiting for a cordial debate to begin, and even the boxes are exactly the right size for the salesman with the yellow bow-tie to tuck three-at-a-time under his arm, and when he gently places her foot against the heel cup of the foot measurer, the metal through her stocking feels cold and familiar, and she stands and her big toe slides imperceptibly forward, until it just reaches the size eight line, the way it has done ever since she was twelve.

©Stephanie Harrison, first published in Limestone Review

Selected Works

You crossed the line, my friend Ann tells me. I’m visiting her in California. We’ve borrowed a trailer perched on a small mountain so that we can have a quiet place to write. Now I’m trying to explain why I can’t focus, why my nerves are so jangly. Why I can only take short, shallow breaths ...
He reads Ragtime while being poisoned by a nurse with a woodpecker tattooed on her ankle, and afterwards he describes this to Lily over hamburgers and beer--he is ravenous (go figure)--and she chuckles...
Effortless, like floating in the Great Salt Lake. Forty years ago, as a boy, Zach McKenna did this while on vacation in Utah, and he's never forgotten the sensation of lying still on the surface of the water, arms and legs spread wide, perfectly buoyant. Lately he's been thinking that in the span of a lifetime, these moments are too...
This is how I remember it: I'm ten or eleven, lounging with my cousins and Aunt Corinne on her sun porch. She's wearing a pink Chanel-style dress, like Jackie Kennedy, and she's sipping iced tea from a hot-pink metal tumbler. She's just discovered, she tells usthat someone is living in her house while she and my uncle are at work. Her crossed legs are bare and one of them jiggles up and down while she talks. As she grows more excited--telling us about her strange feeling, the little things she couldn't put her finger on...