Wiseblood Books

Diagnosis

Michael Baruzzini 

The doctor entered the room, looking at a medical chart with a somber face. The patient, sitting uncomfortably on the exam table in nothing but his boxer shorts, grew nervous at the doctor’s grave demeanor.

“I have some bad news,” the doctor said, and sat down on the little wheeled stool.

“Am I sick?” the patient asked, “I just came in for a check-up. I don’t feel sick.”

“No, no,” the doctor replied, “I’m afraid … you are healthy.” [Read more...]

Decoherence

Michael Bradburn-Ruster

Sincerely enough, I thanked Alex for lunch (the tuna casserole as delicious, the café just as charming as he had promised), and with an equal measure of hypocrisy told him the conversation had been fascinating. For the truth was, no matter how ingeniously he explained it, his talk of parallel realities and multiverses—citing the authority of Michio Kaku and some reputedly eminent Russian whose name I didn’t recognize—struck me as more than a little absurd, an impression only augmented by the enthusiasm with which my friend expounded it. [Read more...]

A Call To Prayer

Joy Wambeke

“For the poor souls in purgatory,” I heard my father mutter through clenched teeth. Through the shadows of the upstairs hallway, I could often see my father in my parents’ darkened room, his hands wound around his foot or grasping his knee. He always got ready for work at Sydney harbor in the dark so as not to wake mum. It was his habit to offer the inevitable bumps into furniture for the dead not yet in heaven.

It would be fair to say that mum and my father believed in God.

“Don’t forget to say your prayers, Abe,” my father reminded me each night. He had told me this for as far back as I can remember, bidding me goodnight with a small smile, my mum winking in agreement. [Read more...]

Ascending

Christopher Paolelli 

He cowered on the ruined balcony. Shriveled into a crouch, he screamed wordlessly at the inferno that was devouring the known world.

Sal called encouragement to him, but he wouldn’t listen or couldn’t hear. So Sal started toward him, cautiously, one shaky step at a time. Then something went wrong. Terribly, terribly wrong. In a moment the balcony was gone. And so was the boy. [Read more...]

Cloistered Conversations

Jessica Hoelzer 

“Inner silence, Mother. I struggle with inner silence.” I shudder as I always do when confessing my weaknesses. My Mother Superior responds with a grave nod of her head.

“A common admission, most often from novices and young postulants. But you have been here almost eleven years. Has your heart always struggled like this, or is it one of those regresses we often encounter on this long walk with our Savior?” She speaks, as she always does, with a sincere desire to be of service, but the solemnity in her tone betrays the gravity of her question. [Read more...]

Why Can’t He Be You?

Eve Tushnet 

“Oh, Nina, you haven’t signed up yet—can you take one of the,” and Dorrie was turning the clipboard toward me with her usual unhappy smile, “morning slots?”

“Sure. Where is this place?” Cigarette. Cigarette. Cigarette!

“It’s a Planned Parenthood on 17th Street. There’ll be a carpool if you want.” Cigarette, dammit! I signed up for 10 A.M. and headed outside as fast as I could. Open pack, fish out lovely lovely cigarette, between the lips and hunt for the lighter and suck and oh, thank God!

Smoky dark gray chemical taste. Already the stress of the morning was falling back into the past. Oh, brilliant, beautiful. Oh frabjous day.

Then, of course, I realized that I’d really signed up for ten in the morning on a Saturday. [Read more...]

The Strawberry Effect

Lauren Schott

A symphony of color hung in the skies above Nicholas Harris’ head. The sun had exceeded even its own expectations that morning in producing resplendent reds and yellows. Black slated roofs and aluminum, accident-proof car tops obliterated the view for most people–people who rushed to work or golf or home after an extended evening party–but Harris had been awake for several hours already, tending the strawberry fields despite the arthritic bones that complained with painful pops and pangs with his every movement.

Harris did at some point raise his eyes from the ground at his feet to the sky, and some small corner of his mind registered the word “beautiful” in response to the colors before him. [Read more...]

Meat

Matthew Lickona
SELECTED BY BERNARDO APARICIO GARCÍA, PRESIDENT

It was time to test the meat.

Father Dunleavy squeezed his left hand into a fist, and, with the tip of his right index finger, pressed down on the bulging swath of flesh that stretched between the knuckles of his clenched thumb and forefinger. He noted the bounce of fingertip off skin, something like a drumstick repelled by the tautness of the drumhead. Keeping his fingers curled, he relaxed the muscles of his hand and pressed again. He still found tension there at the surface, but it was underlaid with softness—a jellified center. Father Dunleavy smiled. That’s it. [Read more...]

The Good Thief *

Joshua Hren

Bent in the corner-most seat of the final row of the Sorbonne lecture hall Simon felt claustrophobic, fought in his mind with the thickened crowd—to find an exit just in case. This was a harmless salle de conférence, lost in a labyrinth of hallways, small with a few hundred seats that dipped quickly toward the stage, but the stately arcades with their chiseled vines and flowers grew here a sense of majesty. Simon rubbed harshly the tendon of his neck, which was sore from swiveling brushes and pencils, small talk and war talk and the heart of the matter back and forth between the canvas and the prostitute until dawn. [Read more...]

An Excerpt from The Woman Who Was Poor

Léon Bloy, Translated by Joshua Hren

“It reeks of God, here!”

This rogue’s bit of gall was disgorged, like vomit, on the very lowly threshold of the Vincentian Missionary’s chapel, on the Rue de Sèvres, in 1879.

It was the first Sunday of Advent, and Parisian humanity was slogging its way to the Great Winter Circus.

That year, like so many others, had not been the year of the End of the World, and no one thought to be shocked. [Read more...]

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