Where I Stay

Zornoza_WhereIStayGotham teacher Andrew Zornoza recently saw the release of his novel Where I Stay. But it’s not your typical novel at all. It’s composed of poetically realistic fragments and photographs. The unifying element is the unnamed narrator who travels from Idaho to Mexico, stalked by his own future self and the whispers of a distant love.

Actually, it’s tough to describe, so just take a look:

Oct. 6, Pocatello, Idaho

An abandoned rusted Bonneville. Upholstery hangs in tattered ribbons from the ceiling. The loud cracking report of a rifle. I slept, now I am awake, huddled on the floor at the foot of the front-seat. Two guns fire now, then three, a bullet puts a neat hole through the far back window. I can't speak loud enough (is this all a dream?) and time has collapsed: every movement I make slow and particulate. I reach forward and nudge my duffel bag out the opened rear door. Voices. Another gunshot. The gunshots stop. An outstretched hand pulls me out. Three boys, my age. Farking Christ, says one. Outside in the daylight, a jumble of trash: washing machines, shopping carts, condom wrappers, stuffed animals, shotgun shells on the ground. The boys bring me to a house. One of the boys pulls out a canister of bianca and the boys take turns seeing how many huffs they can take from it. They set up a wooden ramp on the driveway and skateboard in circles. Inside, we go down into a basement and they play video games. Stupid fucking controller, says one. Maybe I should come with you, says another. The mother comes down the stairs balancing a tray of lemonade on her arm. Then she goes away and returns with sandwiches. Who's this? she says. A friend of Jasper's, says a boy. You getting enough lemonade? she says, tugs down her apron. The couches in the basement are as long as cars. There's a phone on the end table. Some girls are meeting the boys down by the reservoir, by the dilapidated Bonneville.


In June of 1982 my sister tried to kill herself. She came to me and said, “There are no sheets, the pillows are full of glass.” She had a bottle of aspirin in one hand and lithium in the other. The telephone rang and when I returned she was gone. A trail of blood dotted the wooden floor, there was a steak knife with its point propped up against the porch door. In the bathroom, my mother bound her forearms with masking tape. On the ride to the hospital
my sister opened the car window and battered her neck against the top edge of it and then tried to jump out of the car and then stuck her fist down her throat.

I've lost pieces of things that I want to remember. And now I am losing pieces of places, of myself.


Reprinted by permission of Tarpaulin Sky Press. For more information about this book,
visit: andrewzornoza.com.