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Abigail Thomas

Abigail Thomas has published stories in several magazines and is a former winner of the Missouri Review’s William Peden Prize. [1993]


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Dec 01 1992

Buddy's Best Work

Three swans dropped dead this week and this morning there was a fourth on the street out front. Nobody knows why. Maybe they are choking to death, maybe it is a sign from God. At first I thought it was a big pile of newspapers just starting to blow away but when I got closer I saw it was a swan with one wing spread out on the road as if it had tried to lift itself up. Poor thing. Already ants were in its eyes. I called Buddy to come quickly I was so upset. I did not know what it might mean right in front of our house and the baby due in three weeks. Buddy said all it meant was that he had to pick it up which he tried to do but the body kept slipping out between the wings, it was hard to get a purchase. Finally he dragged it up on the lawn. I said I’d call the ASPCA, but Buddy shook his head. “Virginia,” he said. “It’s as dead as a doornail.”

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Mar 01 1991

A Tooth for Every Child

Louise, who is pushing down the tall grasses near the land of menopause, accepts an invitation from Mona, who is not that far behind. Mona could use the sight of Louise. “I need a drinking companion,” she says. Louise can hear the twins wailing in the background. “We don’t drink anymore,” Louise reminds her. “But we can talk about it, can’t we? Remember pink gins?” “That wasn’t us, Mona, pink gins. That was our grandmothers.” “Don’t quibble, Just get off the bus at Concord. I’ll pick you up.” “I’ll come Friday. Thursday I’ve got my teeth.”

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Mar 01 1990

Modern Love

Sometimes he comes up behind me at the stove and lifts my skirts and we do it right here in the kitchen like a couple of kids. Quite a change from Noah who could only stay hard by imagining me being sawn in half. Robbie is the tallest, nicest man I’ve ever gone out with. His back and shoulders are broad and strong and make me think of the word wingspan. When we go to sleep he folds me in his arms as gently as if I were an origami bird. But nothing is perfect. He is dead broke. And worse.