But what they perceive as tranquility, Francine experiences as a sort of unpleasant limpness, her heart a slack muscle, as if after having delivered an outsized grief, it never quite snapped back and stubbornly holds, if not sorrow itself, then the soft shape of it.
–From Sharon Sheehe Stark’s “The Johnstown Polka,” from The Dealer’s Yard
A sentence like that can almost make a nontheist like me believe in God ’cause how could a mere human write it?
Diane Lefer is co-author (with Hector Aristizábal) of The Blessing Next to the Wound: A Story of Art, Activism, and Transformation.
John Madera's fiction may be found in Conjunctions, Opium Magazine, The &Now Awards 2: The Best Innovative Writing, and many other journals. His criticism may be found in American Book Review, Bookforum, The Review of Contemporary Fiction, Rain Taxi: Review of Books, The Believer, The Brooklyn Rail, and many other venues. Recipient of an M.F.A. in Literary Arts from Brown University, John Madera lives in New York City, where he runs Rhizomatic and manages and edits Big Other.