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“Jen Michalski’s second novel is an intense emotional commitment, but a worthwhile one.” – Ploughshares


“Jen is an astonishingly sensitive writer.” – HTML Giant


“Jen Michalski excels in subtlety that is made possible by her nuanced understanding of voice.” – The Rumpus


“Jen is a writerly heavyweight.” – Nate Brown, American Short Fiction


“We’re lucky to have Michalski before the rest of the world discovers her. But they will.” – Baltimore City Paper

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While They Lay Dying

There is no living while something is dying. There's a strange purgatory of waiting, of watching clocks, organizing memories, making predictions as to the when, the how. It seemed so fast, Elizabeth Edwards passing away, but we don't know how long her family waited in misery for their closure.

My paternal grandfather and maternal grandmother will probably both die this week. I wish they would pass on so that they're not in any pain, that they're no longer trapped in bodies that became useless to them years ago, that they no longer walk through a hazy dream world. But will I regret not having an extra moment next to their emptying containers, their bruised fruits, once that were so full and delicious and sweet?

There is no permanence in anything, and yet when our loved ones are dying, time distills to nothing, and all that's left is the pain of waiting, of being helpless, and yet of being entirely unready when the bolt stuck in the gearwheel is loosened and time chugs on without them.