For the short story reader. Updated every Monday.

The Short Form

“Everything in This Country Must”

Colum McCann


Father's shirt was wet under his overalls and it was very white when the headlights hit it. The lights got close close closer, and in the brightening we heard shouts and then the voices came clear. They sounded like they had swallowed things I never swallowed. I looked at Father and he looked at me all of a sudden with the strangest of faces, like he was lost, like he was punched, like he was the river cap floating, like he was a big alone tree desperate for forest. Someone shouted out, Hey, mate, what's goin' on? in a strange strange way, and Father said, Nothing, and his head dropped to his chest and he looked across the river at me and I think what he was telling me was Drop the rope, girl, but I didn't. I kept it tight, holding the draft horse's neck above the water, and all the time Father was saying but not saying, Drop it, please, Katie, drop it, let her drown.

We read it in The Art of the Story.