Critical Thought: Iron

I sent this story to a relative of mine. They said, In these short pieces every word has to count. Right then I thought I had failed. When asked, I proceeded to give my own interpretation of the last line, feeling very nauseous. Is art successful if it is not understood?

In light of this, I love Leni Zumas recounting how Grace Paley said every story has to be at least two stories. Additionally, Paula Fox said a good novel begins with a small question and ends with a bigger one. I think we tend to carry around what can't be understood or explained so easily. I aspire to create such works.

Greg Gerke lives in Brooklyn. His work has or will appear in Quarterly West, Mississippi Review, Gargoyle and Fourteen Hills. There’s Something Wrong With Sven, a book of fiction, is available from Blaze Vox Books. He edits very short fiction for Corium Magazine and ArtVoice. His website is www.greggerke.com.

The Iron

The iron came from a rummage sale. He said, Why not? Her mother had told her never to buy used appliances. She didn’t love him so much anymore so she didn’t argue.

He didn’t take much when he left and the iron stayed behind, on a high shelf with an old National Geographic. Its underside speckled with black dots, its dial set to linen.

She used to like to iron, but not now. She would come home after work, fix a drink, put on dance music and sit down.

The iron hadn’t moved in three months. He’d used it once when they went to an event at the University. It works really good, he’d called from the bathroom, holding the iron away from his body like a relic.

I hate you, she whispered.

by Greg Gerke