For the short story reader. Updated every Monday.

The Short Form


Stuart Dybek


In this fiction, set in an anonymous dead-end alley, the reflection of a woman, all the more beautiful for being ghostly, has surfaced from the depths of a bedroom mirror. Those soldiers in the firing squad, who can see her, conclude that she is a projection of the hooded man's memory, and that her flickering appearance is a measure of how intensely she is being recalled. Beneath the hood, the man must be recalling a room in summer where her bare body is reflected beside his, her blond-streaked hair cropped short, both of them tan, lean, still young. The mirror is unblemished, as if it, too, is young.

“Look,” she whispers, “us.”

Was it then he told her that their reflection at that moment is what he'd choose to be his last glimpse of life?

We read it in Tin House: 54.