Issue 92, No. 1 of the Southwest Review recently arrived in my mailbox. I was pleased to see that my friend Chris Gavaler had a story in this issue and indeed I think it is the best thing here. It’s called “Ivy Miller Poses” and is about a girl in difficult circumstances:
“Ivy did not know why she was an Indian then, a Shawnee. No one had ever called her that before, but Mr. Whitaker had said so, and her sister Grace had reminded her before helping her down from the wagon. Ivy still stammered, her mouth too small for her tongue and teeth plus all those words when the lady with the enrollment book made her say them, Iva Miller, age nine, Sh-Shaw-Shawnee. That was years ago. Ivy was only a child. She’s almost sixteen now.”
I thought at first, though, that the issue might have a funeral theme, given the first two stories. “What to Do With the Dead” by Don Waters is about a young artist who does deliveries for a crematorium. Julian runs into trouble when he tries to take the ashes of a young suicide to her father’s home. And the next story is “Are You There” by Lois Taylor, in which a man decides to study mummification techniques in lieu of burying his dead wife and complications ensue.
Next up: One Story