Tuesday, April 24, 2012

My Story in The Crab Orchard Review, Now Online

The Crab Orchard Review just posted a PDF file of its “Land of Lincoln” issue in which my story, “The Chicago Brother” appears.  This piece—since revised somewhat—is the first chapter of my Chicago novel.

Here’s the beginning:

Chicago, 1899

Sitting on the cold stoop as snow flurried around him, Jozef felt as useless as a third boot.   Upstairs, his wife was huddled deep in Ludwika’s bed, in the front room where the window was.  When any of them were sick, that’s where they lay to get better or to die:  little Janka with the fever was the last one, and she had passed on after a long, terrible week; mass was being said at St. Casimir’s in two Sundays.  Now his wife, Krystyna—not sick, but with a baby that had been coming for too many hours, so it was her turn in Ludwika’s bed, her turn to lie in the front room. 

He had resisted, wanting her to stay in the back bedroom; yes, it was on the airshaft, dark and dank, crowded with the bedding for the little girls, but wasn’t it better for Krystyna to be in a place she knew—the faded wallpaper with the roses, the cracks in the ceiling zigzagging like summer lightning?—“she’ll be fine back here,” he had said, but the women ignored him, lifting Krystyna, pulling her, prodding her into the front, into the bed where people died.  How Ludwika could sleep with those ghosts, but she did. 

“Go,” they told him.  “We’ll take care of her.”


“Go,” and he was nudged out the front door, and one of them even stood there, arms folded like a sentry, watching him clump down the four flights of stairs to be sure he was gone.
You can read the rest here.  Or go here:

and scroll to link for Issue 15, number 2. 

Note:  These links are to the entire issue of the journal; my story starts on page 117, though there’s a lot of great writing to explore in this issue!


DC-area author Leslie Pietrzyk explores the creative process and all things literary.