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You can see him in conversation with other ZYZZYVA contributors tomorrow at East Bay Booksellers. Without pausing I say the name of his most loved stuffed animal, and this goes on for many minutes, many miles, and later, I am listening to something else and have forgotten the game, the trees, the houses.The bikers blur by like sentences we have jettisoned, which is why he is confused when I answer to his question of what the string of letters and numbers he has placed together might signify, for he believes that every possible combination of letters makes a word, and I begin to think how lovely that would be if the nearly in nite number of alphabetical arrangements had a corresponding word, like iffor “the distance between Cork and Limerick by wagon,” a different word for a different day of his life, a word for every time I lose him at a park or in the store, a word for the uneaten grape on his plate, for the green monster in his dream, the word for what it feels like when you are four and do not know the word for what you have lost.Mackenzie Evan Smith’s “The Wet Continent”: “I have not set toe on a sailboat in more than a decade. 111 here, or order a subscription to ZYZZYVA now and we’ll start you off by shipping you the Winter issue.

Returning to the gym gives him distance and sanctuary from his problems, but his time spent training is overshadowed by the presence of a chilling, pale-eyed villain whose sadism intimidates even the most hardened criminals.Daniel and his family live in a perpetually cold, blue-collar necropolis of rust and poverty.His worksite is, “Acre upon acre of frozen ground with muddied swaths in the white.” And in my favorite line of the novel, we read, “There he thumped the gas pedal and the tires threw broken chips of brittle tarmac as he went townward through cold and lightless country.” With passages such as these, one not only feels the mood of desolation but also a hushed metaphysical horror akin to Cormac Mc Carthy’s is also a touching, multi-generational reflection on family values.He and his wife now live in near-poverty with their daughter.Unable to find steady work, Daniel moonlights as hired muscle for a local gangster.

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