“Every Good Woman Has an Ax,” a new story by alumni Elizabeth Eslami (fiction, ’03), appears online in The Manhattanville Review:
Someone said the day Isla Corlett married The Great Cullion of the West, all the winter boxelder came unfurled. That bitches whelped unfinished pups, that Pumpkin Creek spilled its banks. Over a single April night, foggy and damp, the snow drew itself back, and the hard buds split. Magpies turned away from their eggs, so went the story. Clouds of bees, clouds of birds. The smell of plow horses and dead elk steamed from the ground.
But there was no red moon, nor fish-headed babies born. It was only a dry wind blowing, a simoom thawing the cold earth a little.
Idle people did love to talk.
It might have been, in the end, the marvel of the trains. Screaming through the early mornings, carrying glass from Minneapolis, silk on fabric wheels and stout bags of grain piled seven cars across. Novel enough that if you heard train-whistle or breath, felt its heartbeat through the ground, you went out to watch for it.
You might believe anything was coming.