Reverse-Gentrification of the Literary World

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The Late Work of Margaret Kroftis


A phenomenal debut novella to further establish the literary excellence of Dennis Cooper’s Little House on the Bowery series.

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Excerpt from The Late Work of Margaret Kroftis

PA R T 2


The sun passed over the house as I sipped my coffee on the back porch. We wrestled in the bedroom and I pretended that the carpet was a sheet of lava. I pinched Peter’s side and he laughed, so I kicked him in the stomach. He rolled off of me and gasped for air. The neighbors had their back light on. I rested my head on his lap as he propped himself up on his pillows. I told him that we barely survived.

I dreamed that we were driving along the coast at night: the road headed through the trees, the moon was reflected on the bay. I could barely see my notebook as I tried to write it down. After Peter left for work I unpacked a little more then went for a walk. The clouds protected the sky from the mountains. I walked past a girl my age unloading duffel bags from an old Land Cruiser. A cat hid beneath a car then scampered into a hedge. The street ran uphill, toward a forest. I passed an apartment building then an empty lot. The air was still, orange barrels were stacked at the end of the street. Grass smudged to dirt became a trail that led around them. I followed it into the forest.

I startled a doe eating berries. The air moved slowly in the moments after she took off. I jumped over puddles beneath birches and cottonwoods. The trees ended and the sky began. I came upon a grassy hill and climbed to the top. I was standing on a sidewalk. In front of me were six houses ringing a cul-de-sac. The lawns had gone to seed and I walked to the first house on the left. It was a split-level minus shingles. Little light made it inside. The floor was the night sky. I stepped on some broken glass. Crushed cans and empty cases of beer were scattered all over. The sub floor was loose and soft from the rain coming through the rotted roof. Dust’d fogged the windows.

On my way back I daydreamed that the trees rearranged themselves at night. I rode my bike to get us Thai food for dinner. We drank white wine and I tried to show Peter where the cul-de-sac was on our map. I pointed to a blob that seemed like a forest. I told him that the houses looked like they were abandoned during construction. We finished the wine on the deck. The wind blew from the bay over the mountains. I laid my fingers between his. If the sky swallowed the earth it would be so beautiful when we died.