Male of the Species

This May sees the debut of Gotham Fiction teacher Alex Mindt’s short story collection Male of the Species.  The stories chronicle the lives of fathers in America—fathers of every race and class—heroic fathers, pathetic, abusive fathers, comical, desperate and brave fathers. Publisher’s Weekly calls it “tense and surprising throughout” and Entertainment Weekly made it a “Pick of the Week,” saying the author “perfects the tragic poetry of dreams deflated by the weight of the world.”

Here’s an excerpt from “Sabor a Mi,” the Pushcart Prize-winning story of an old Mexican immigrant who walks from Santa Fe to Taos in order to stop his daughter’s lesbian wedding.

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I need you now, Rosalinda, for I have walked a long time and the sun is pushing down on me. The road is uphill. In a car you don’t notice so much. But when the foot comes down, the ground is so much closer than when the foot came up. I have walked almost to the Indian reservation outside of town. Cars and trucks do not see me.

The dirt on the roadside is hard and dry, and the ravine beside me is full of rocks and no water. In this country, rivers and streams, they dry up. The sky takes our lives away. We become clouds. When it rains I see all the people who’ve gone before me. Mami, Papi, my baby boys. I see Tío Julio on a mattress under an apple tree, playing a guitar with only three strings. There are black birds and rotting apples.

But I don’t see you, Rosi, and every time it rains I ask, what is wrong? What did I do? I would like it to rain. Sweat now is bubbling up under this wool suit I still have, this suit you bought for me, for Raquel’s quinceañera so many years ago. Do you remember Tío Julio and his band playing “Sabor a Mí” in the darkness, and how we danced? Do you remember the lovely noise of that night and the sangria, how the neighbors came over and then more and more until our yard was full of dancing?

I need a car to pull off now. My knees are burning with every step. I will stop and wait here until someone pulls over. This is a country made of rushing. Here, no one is anywhere, they are in between places. Only the dead are content.

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Copyright 2007© by Alex Mindt.  Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins.  All rights reserved.
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