subito press

university of colorado boulder

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Moon is Cotton & She Laugh All Night

by Tracy Debrincat

2009 fiction contest winner
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Moon is Cotton Cover

Gazelle legs splay out, neck muscles ripple fine she dainty swig dark emerald murk at summer water hole.

Empty belly alligator imitate vicious, hungry log, blink watchful amber eye.

Shady banyan branch. Hippo bead on both, sigh over tasty business mossy bottom lettuce.

Without half try, alligator lazy snap ragged jaws.

Gazelle, mid-swallow, caught in vise of yellow, pointy teeth.

Alligator think, “Ha! Lunch!” Saliva drool for gazelle bonbon of loin & ankle, ear & thigh.

Hippo, she say, “Fuck that shit!” Make Nijinsky leap into blood-streak whirlpool, knock alligator on the bean, pluck gazelle from slack-jaw astonish & lay her gentle on riverbank, out of daze old lizard reach.

Alligator slink down fast. Eye blast venom, appetite.

Hippo nudge gazelle sable head into her mouth, cushion fat pink tongue under skull like a pillow.

“Ha! Lunch redux!” alligator spit.

But no.

Hippo whisper secrets into blissful, ignorant gazelle. Say, “Moon is cotton & she laugh all night. Birds sing to measure the age of the world. Fish rather dance than swim. Time to run. Time to run.”

Gazelle open eyes, crusty & surprise. Wishbone lungs fill with river-horse secrets, heart pound like prayer as she birth herself from hippo mouth, bow once & scamper Bambi-style away, dribbling urine like to say, “Man! Did you catch that?”

Reviews and Interviews

“Tracy DeBrincat’s audacious stories are all skewed angles and acrobatic language. Her characters, hungry for the authentic, don’t necessarily find it where we’d think to look. The character who says she’s ‘naked as a lark’ pretty much illustrates DeBrincat’s unpredictable style: candid, original – a lark! – and rich with anti- sentimental feeling.”

-Rosellen Brown, author of Tender Mercies and Half a Heart

“Vivid, sensuous, supremely imaginative—these compelling stories chart the landscapes of the disenfranchised, the idiosyncrasies of families and found families, the love that grows from the shimmer of asphalt on a highway at 3 am. In prose that is both surprisingly lush and gritty, DeBrincat leads us into the adventures of her quirky, fascinating characters chock full of hilarity and heartbreak. This is a remarkably powerful debut voice.”

-Cathy Colman, author of Borrowed Dress and Beauty’s Tattoo

“With evocative prose and comic precision, Tracy DeBrincat mines the rich interior worlds of her characters, primarily girls and women. She is a writer with a unique voice and vision, and her stories unfold in surprising ways. Read her collection and take the journey—one filled with twists and turns, empathy, and ultimately, grace.”

-Mary Otis, author of Yes, Yes, Cherries

About the Author:

Tracy DeBrincat is the author of the short story collection Moon Is Cotton & She Laugh All Night.

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