The Crowns

Kansas City, Missouri

Hilary Crown

Johnson hadn’t been home in a week. Instead, he chose to sleep at his apartment on campus, which was fine because I didn’t really want him back anyway. I enjoyed my morning cigarette while standing in a clutch of trees at the edge of our property. The children picked flowers. The town’s tornado siren went off. We were on the far side of the pasture, the house floated on the horizon like a cruise ship, Tom and Victoria grabbed my hands and we started running. Dark skies closed in, the wind swirled, snatching anything not nailed down. read more

Mercy Rule


The spring before my father came back I sprouted up to five-five in a hurry. The week after finishing seventh grade the growing pains kept me in bed for three days, but by Independence Day Felix and I were at the Mill Creek courts hustling preppy jocks from all over. The net-less rims stained the backboards with streaks of rust and dropped flecks of sun-faded orange paint onto the blacktop with every shot that didn’t slide through on nothing but air. We’d play twos—Felix always driving, driving, and me hanging back for open jumpers. Felix wasn’t subtle about winning. A celebration dance after a particularly demoralizing juke and score wasn’t uncommon. He had an extra tooth above the canine on the left, and when he laughed it pointed straight out as if to indicate the butt of every joke. The losers would stare and shake their heads as Felix salsa-ed, but they never had anything to say about it. Felix and I would head home with paint chips stuck in the sweat at our hairlines, rimming our scalps like crowns. read more