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

The Last Seduction

The music therapist's voice was flat, he complained afterwards; the art therapist suggested scrapbooking; the poetry therapist used the word simile for Chrissakes--and with the departure of each hospice worker, Lily feels more alone, trapped like a bear on a floating mattress (she jots this on the back of a prescription bag, then crosses it out)--no, boxed in this house with him like a pair of marzipan cupcakes (she crosses this out, too), and gradually the arc of their days and nights converges into a flatline of identical hours, until one night, when it is late and there is nothing on television, and he can't even lift his hand to king her checker, he announces his intent to make love to her, and maybe that's a wink or maybe it's only a squirt of morphine, that brief fluttering of lid just before he begins to fill her with words … see, he tells her, a sparsely furnished room … a space heater … a window overlooking snow-covered taxis … remember? … picture patience, if you can … imagine slow … think about silk … and saltwater … and secret scars: and his memory lures her to the edge of him--even now he can do this to her--until she feels the familiar whoosh as she falls back into his center; and later, while the sun comes up and he is sleeping, she continues to sit in her usual chair, grateful for the phhfff of his exhaled breath, watching the measured drip of his IV, and in a while she will get up to take a shower, in a while she will bring in the newspaper, pour a glass of orange juice, then scribble this on the lid of an old shoebox: like carrying tea in a seashell.

©Stephanie Harrison, appeared first in Hayden's Ferry 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...