Losing them, fixing them, forgetting to put them in
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One of Katherine Vaz’s first published short stories appeared in The Sun, in 1988. Since then, her fiction has appeared in numerous literary magazines, including Glimmer Train, the Iowa Review, and the Antioch Review. She lives in Santa Ana, California, and is the author of two novels, Saudade (St. Martin’s Press) and Mariana (HarperCollins/Flamingo, UK). Her short-story collection Fado and Other Stories (University of Pittsburgh Press) won the 1997 Drue Heinz Literature Prize. Her story in this issue is dedicated to her friend Mercedes Gomez, a musician who wrote a solo composition about steering a harp through traffic in Mexico City. The story’s title was inspired by a child’s drawing exhibited a decade ago at an art show in Laguna Beach, California.
That bus is going to slam into my daughter. In my stop-action memory, everything lies bare a grace note before the accident. The school bus grinds forward stupidly, a yellow hippo. Henry is at the crosswalk, waiting for me as I turn the corner. He is not holding Mary’s hand.
Occasionally, when Dad belted up his trousers with twine, she turned as brittle as snapbread, but in those early years, she was usually willing to dismiss our days as the pruning from which decorous bloom must one day erupt.