“If you bring forth what is inside you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is inside you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.”
                                          —Gospel of Thomas
What came from him fell from his mouth like a burst of rain. It came forth like his father’s large shoes striding across the summer lawn leaving bent grass behind. It frightened him the way it swarmed his wife’s arm like insects, suggesting to him a bite that would shake her with fever, unlock her bones, cause them to drift up through the flesh. His mouth: A downpour: A disheartening pour: A sad pour. He could never guess what was hidden in the clouds, what would suddenly spatter down around him. Memory: Furniture made of thorns crashing over those he loved. A black belt whipping through the air and raising welts on the back of his legs.
What would this do to his own children?
What he tried to do, he tried to hold back the rain. His head fattened, his eyes filled with tears. Disappointed faces hammered him. Shame. Frozen gestures, a voice, the curled edge of rug, feet pressed against his sister’s shins, carved from ice needing the heat of his breath to reveal their past, their future, to unworry him. He opened his mouth and what came out was too long inside, wet filth, a muck of memory and language, a sludge that caught his wife and buried her in the living room. A driving hail that cut down the house plants and pocked the walls. A passionate hurricane forced by a thousand years of unspoken life that tore through the house and eased him.

Richards: Novel: Working Stiff, language as violence. Novel: Inter-Office Male, love sort-of, plus fettuccine. Short Stories: The Pigeon Factory, psychic cataclysm, or as a friend said, “Horror spoken as laughter.” Detroit. San Francisco. Chicago. Los Angeles.