Winner of Folio's 2012 Fiction Contest. Judge and award-winning writer Alan Heathcock praises this story as being “steeped in a kind of temporal beauty, unfurling the mysteries of family and self, and culminating in a moment of clarity, a portrait of a woman deemed shallow but filled with the rich inner wisdom of a dreamer.”
I left Iris sleeping and went outside with the dog. I told Gene it was too cold in the house and I wanted to take a walk, get a bit of fresh air, but that was a laugh, or else it was a lie, because we all know that outside in Iowa in the middle of July the air is anything but fresh. The heat is soggy, heavy, thick with moisture and gnats and the constant hum of the cicadas, so loud and unforgiving that all you can do is let it grind into your brain and forget about it, if you want to keep from going insane.