Narrative nonfiction

The Profanity of a President

The Profanity of a President

On Trump,
White Supremacy,
the Bible, and
Political Theater

Lilies of the Valley

Lilies of the Valley
By Kit-Bacon Gressitt


 



My mother planted lilies of the valley along her garden’s edge. It was one of her rare mundanities, and the memory has remained with me. One early autumn day, wearing orange clamdiggers, matching gloves, and shoulder-banging earrings, she carried a bag of bulbs, a spade, and a small braided rug to the garden.

She rolled out the rug to kneel on, to protect her knees from the damp earth. She had shattered them both in an accident years before I was born. A truck, oblivious to the winter’s effect on the winding country road, skated around a bend and over the top of my parents' little car. I’ve imagined her lying there, bright red blood sketching her outline in...

Speak Tenderly to the City

Speak Tenderly to the City

An annual remembrance of the Oklahoma City bombing, April 19, 1995


By Kit-Bacon Gressitt

Ladies and gentlemen and children: See before you the crumbled concrete and teddy bears, the wreaths and forlorn love notes, the postcards and classroom projects, the flags and bobbing balloons, the flowers and final farewells to one hundred, sixty-eight souls.
 

Regina and the Racist

Regina and the Racist
By Kit-Bacon Gressitt

 

“When my son was murdered, I read Job,” Regina said.

Regina was my ride-share driver, fifty-something, and a seat-full of voluptuous curves. She was chatty and she talked with her hands vociferously, which was only a little scary. After each burst of information, they’d reclaim the steering wheel.

Usually, Regina told me, she has a gig driving a charter bus up to Boston and back, but then she has to wait four or five unpaid hours before she can return her passengers to Philadelphia. And if they don’t tip well, she’s better off with Uber or Lyft. She has a lot of friends, but they’re not all real friends, “Not like the real close ones, you know?” She has fewer of those, but...

Home in 'Fallbrook the Friendly Village'

Home in 'Fallbrook the Friendly Village'
By Kit-Bacon Gressitt



 

“Peligro,” I said. “La mujer fotografia tu auto.”

It was pitiful Spanish—I really need to learn the language—but it was my best, and I wasn’t convinced it was the right thing to do, but I did it anyway.

It all started with my early morning walk, accompanied by my not-quite-right dog and my quite-all-right neighbor.

We walk four or five days a week, enjoying the Fallbrook flora and fauna—a great blue heron family has been nesting in one of our taller trees. While the cloud formations waltz over the mountains to the north and east, we find a little political common ground in our conversation and commit, yet again, to avoid late-night snacks, a problem of the privileged.

This morning, we were...

Mother's Knees

Mother's Knees
By Kit-Bacon Gressitt

Mother’s knees, they were misshapen by the lumps and scars of a lifetime.

There she sat, unaware of the lens, skirt pulled high to defy the wet Eastern heat that dampened doting offspring. The edema of unspoken words and fateful adventures swelled her joints and crippled her sidestep, yet still she twirled to the rhythms of her youth. Although achingly unsure in her final years, those knees had long served her well.

They held her aloft when she was barely tall enough to reach the outhouse seat—loath, she was, to rest on it for fear of all the crawling, stinging things her older cousins convinced her lurked there. And surely those knees propelled her toward the heavens when the plumbing...

Coconut Boys

Coconut Boys
By Kit-Bacon Gressitt Note: The following narrative nonfiction work appears in the Spring 2019 Evening Street Review, a publication dedicated to the understanding that men and women are created equal.  


Mr. Phan stands and faces the passengers, his small frame mostly hidden by his seat back, a microphone in his hand. He blinks through thick, round glasses. Nodding in one direction, his eyes grow large; in another, bisected. On his periphery, rice fields blur by, water buffalos, shrines sending the smoke of lemon grass incense to ancestors.

Mr. Phan responds to a question. “No, no wifi on bus. You no need wifi. Wife you need. Without wife, you die. Without wifi, you live. No need...

It's the Roe v. Wade Anniversary, and Damn that Man

It's the Roe v. Wade Anniversary, and Damn that Man
By Kit-Bacon Gressitt

 

Thank goodness we cremated Mother and Father—I don’t have to worry about them, turning over in their graves every time that man in the White House tweets.

This is the thought I awoke to this morning, despite a weekend filled with the exuberant hope of Women’s Marches around the globe, repeating the passions we performed the day after that man’s inauguration in 2017.

It’s a grumpy way to greet the sun, although grump fodder has been plentiful the last twelve months.

I kick off the tussled comforter, gird my loins, swing my legs to the chill tile floor, and dash to the bathroom, determined not to dribble a trail. Eh, the dog’ll lick it up if I do.



I make it to...

A Triangulated Dialectic

A Triangulated Dialectic
By Kit-Bacon Gressitt

Published by Ducts magazine and excerpted here.
 

My daughter texts me.

She is in love, a deep and sharp love she has nurtured for three-and-a-half years. It is a love I imagine adorns her library of journals, the older ones bursting with the marks of a high school girl: felt-tip word art, genital-red lips clipped from magazines and strategically placed, angst-riddled poetry, youthful infatuation with adulthood, the secrets of this love’s emergence.

Standing in her abandoned room, I suspect her new journals are filled with the musings of a lyrical college student, bold declarations of fickle intent, brilliant moments of insight, the spatter of salty sorrow. But the old ones, they are...

Writers Read Launches its 2017 Author Series with

Writers Read Launches its 2017 Author Series with
An American Genocide by Benjamin Madley