our stewardess swims over the sea

an excerpt from Mark Anthony Jarman’s story “Our Stewardess Swims over the Sea” from his collection MY WHITE PLANET:

We are jammed in the sky like rodents and I have seen it all, I know everything about you. I know about your doe-eyed 4H calf from another lifetime, the Mars bar you stole from Nancy Greene’s ski jacket, the kitchen party that introduced your face to the beauty of linoleum.

And I know that you are flying from Edmonton to Fredericton with your mother’s ashes in the overhead compartment, the purple bag from the funeral home surprisingly heavy, heavy as guilt.

You should’ve called your mother after her birthday.  Why didn’t you visit her more often, take her to the touch-less carwash?  Why did you fight as if there was a prize to be had at the end of ten rounds? (page 209)

this guy is a brilliant writer. sometimes when i’m reading his stories, i have to stop because my brain sizzles, followed by white noise. there are so many sharp-edged images and words that i’m left with an excoriated head space and one or two ideas floating around in there. serious ideas. and i wonder how the fuck he does it?