Fiction

Listen To Anne’s Biddies on VPR

Click this link to hear the author read Anne’s Biddies orginally broadcast in December on Vermont Public Radio http://www.vpr.net/episode/45069/

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Uncle Benoit’s Wake

When I was ten, just after my mother had buried my grandfather, Uncle Benoit died in a spectacular late night car wreck. Uncle Ben, as he was called by us kids or “Mon Onc’” as he was called by his own generation, was my father’s uncle on his father’s side. My father’s mother Eugénie had married Gaston Delaire, acquiring Benoit as a “beau-frère.” Gaston had died several years earlier of pneumonia. Another brother, Arnaud, took holy orders and became an Edmundite missionary in South America among the rainforest people. Uncle Ben and his wife Colette had a pristine farm off Route 100 in North Hyde Park. A hundred and fifty acres and as many Holsteins and Guernseys produced thousands of …
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Crazy Chase

I was walking home from first grade on Maple Street in Morrisville trying to count the houses between the elementary school and my home. Ahead on the maple-lined street, I noticed an elderly woman walking purposefully towards me swinging a purse as if it were a plumber’s bag full of tools. As she came more into view, it was clear she was a lady. Her gray hair was gathered in a bun. She wore a pillbox hat thought it was slightly askew. Her black dress came to below her knees. She wore black laced shoes with a half-heel. I tried not to stare, but something was amiss. Having lost my housing count several trees back, I pretended to look uninterested …
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The Morrisville 4th of July Parade

Pud and Ginger Leland bought the lot next to Union Carbide and built a modern prefab ranch house, the first of its kind in Morrisville. Later, the most popular model came to be known as the Flanders Wonder Home. One could erect it on a lot in a matter of a few days and it came complete with interiors and appliances. The formal front door with its shiny brass finish hardware hung in the street-facing façade three feet above the ground and next to the “pitcher winda” as Pud called it. The door was largely decorative as Pud and Ginger didn’t pay extra for the precast concrete steps with filigree wrought iron rail that led up to it. Fifty feet …
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Jack Daulton’s New Camp

Pete loved to fish. His preferences were for bait casting and dynamite, although he had tried various schemes involving small makeshift dams on brooks with nets in spillways to catch brookies and browns. The topic Thursday morning in Hardwick, however, was his periodic attempts at trolling. Pete only trolled when he had been drinking heavily. He never trolled in his hometown, perhaps because at the time Morrisville was a dry town and Hardwick wasn’t. In fact no one could remember Pete trolling anywhere except in Mer-Lu’s restaurant, noted for the bottles without labels on the bar and the lack of a printed menu. As Lou — the “Lu” in “Mer-Lu’s — told it, Pete had been drinking alone since mid-afternoon. …
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The Dairy Tax Shelter

“I’ss how the rich gits richer,” explained Eddie Purinton, blowing his left nostril onto the ground with his right index finger. “Some newfangle’ plan where ya sell yer cows t’a rich person what’s got taxes ta pay, but ’che git ta keep yer cows and he pays no taxes. Duke Sargeant in the ’stension service ’splained it ta me yesserday.” “I don’ git it,” answered his friend and neighbor Purvis Bettis. “Ya sell ’em yer cows, they pays ya what they’se worth and maybe ya pay ’em sumpin’ monthly for a lease. The rich peoples write the cows off’n their taxes. Works fer me. I never made enough money ta pay no taxes anyhow,” added Eddie. “So they gives ya …
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Lyla’s Bucket

Hardwood Flats does not appear on most local maps but is used by locals to describe an unmarked space between Elmore, Wolcott, and Worcester. It is a hardscrabble bog of isolated ponds, marshland, and mixed second-growth hardwoods and occasional stands of young evergreens. Walking in the woods one can always hear running water somewhere. Much of its terrain seems to float on an inland sea. Here and there, a few dirt roads, passable except in mud season, wind through the woods, feeding into corduroyed logging roads and then tapering off into hunting trails and deeryards. Occasional year-round dwellings nestle here and there on the passable roads. Hunters or hikers will occasionally run across abandoned farmhouses mouldering in clearings marked only …
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Winter

Winter strikes, blasts away at our sanity, Engages us and brings us down. Weightless, I sway in an eddy of doubt As waves of alcohol course through my veins Like errant bands of hooligans Terrorizing shock weary nerve endings. Slowly I disaggregate into a state Wherein my parts grow tired of adhesion Seek solice in their entropy And I am left a mist to be dispersed by your first word.

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Poem

I do not understand why those men are fishing there.
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Untitled Poem

In the ragtime of the mind will you or I be left behind? You will ask a question. And how will I surround it? Like a pintid aboriginal with dance and shouts and childlike derision? Or simply lurk around it in embarassed indecision? If I had posed the question first, how would you respond? Or would you answer it at all? Like trees in poorly planted arbors, we compete for distant light. Neither you or I can grow so it is time for me to go.

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