Orchard City, Leah Browning
The first time I saw her she was in the lake, her long hair fanning out behind her in the water. She’d come home for the summer, and I’d just bought a place a few miles away from my parents. I was planning to fix it up, maybe sell it. I hadn’t decided yet.
Later we went out for burgers and a beer so cold it made my throat ache. We had to shout over the music. Lila touched my hand. Someone was smoking. From halfway across the room, I could hear the balls clicking against each other on the pool table behind me.
I took her home for Sunday dinner with my older brothers and their wives. It was early fall, September. Before we ate, we walked among the apple trees behind the house.
-- excerpt from "Before and After a Slice of Cake," from Orchard City
About Leah Browning
Leah Browning is the author of three short nonfiction books for teens and pre-teens. This is her second chapbook of short fiction. Her fourth chapbook of poetry, Out of Body, is forthcoming from Dancing Girl Press. Browning’s fiction and poetry have recently appeared in Valparaiso Fiction Review, Watershed Review, Superstition Review, Helen Literary Magazine, Random Sample Review, Dime Show Review, Newfound, The Homestead Review, Santa Ana River Review, Coldnoon, Waypoints, Bellows American Review, Chagrin River Review, and First Class Literary Magazine. Her work has also appeared on materials from Broadsided Press and Poetry Jumps Off the Shelf, with audio and video recordings in The Poetry Storehouse, and in several anthologies including The Doll Collection from Terrapin Books, Nothing to Declare: A Guide to the Flash Sequence from White Pine Press, and Myth+Magic, a limited edition anthology from Sugared Water and Porkbelly Press. In addition to writing, Browning serves as editor of the Apple Valley Review. Her website is located at www.leahbrowning.com.