Arresting Yarn

Joanna Howard

The following are unsuitable pages: an albino man murdered by the mob, an arrow marked on his back. The alienists study the psychology. A rousing and invigorating tale.

Miss D├ęcors' Correctional Academy harbors wayward gentlewomen and manly, outward-going youngsters, who though virgins, find themselves in astonishing reversals, at the tunnel's mouth. Now, here is the poorhouse, here the warships. A waspish tongue is an unattractive feature.

A boy's picture monthly stands voiceless and casts its long shadow. A torture of writing on the body, poked and inked, a spectacle of the depiction of the battle for the sovereign skies. The vessels alight. The throat echoes. Victory swallowed in catastrophe.

Three girls treading below the weapons of our new electronic age. Skin alit with caustic paint. Disreputable academy! An abyss such as Satan's own, in Limehouse, on a night the owls made.

A craven dog steps soft. Cheat the masters and punishment follows: the next number in our picture publication.

Joanna Howard is the author of On the Winding Stair (Boa editions, 2009) and In the Colorless Round, a chapbook with artwork by Rikki Ducornet (Noemi Press). Her work has appeared in Conjunctions, Chicago Review, Unsaid, Quarterly West, American Letters & Commentary, Fourteen Hills, Western Humanities Review, Salt Hill, Tarpaulin Sky and elsewhere. Her stories have been anthologized in PP/FF: An Anthology, Writing Online, and New Standards: The First Decade of Fiction at Fourteen Hills. She has also co-translated, with Brian Evenson, Walls by Marcel Cohen (Black Square, 2009) and, with Nick Bredie, also co-translated Cows by Frederic Boyer (Noemi, forthcoming 2011). She lives in Providence and teaches at Brown University.