“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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The Men Who Make Fire in Their Eyes Forever

I walk through an underground work site, looking for Jamie, through saw dust and sewage and fire light, orange and wobbly on the walls. Larry is there.

Lemee see if he's here. Larry disappears into the black as I stand on scaffolding and look around. Men work underground. They are passionate about the sparks that come from rock. You can see it in their eyes dancing, the current of a futurepast thought, the current that sears muscle into steel. They break their backs like bread on rock. They break their backs like bread as they curve down, Atlas, down, grasp the boulders of earth to carry. They carry so many things etched in their faces, carry them forever here.

Larry returns. Jamie's not here. I am relieved. Larry has been dead for years and years and years. From the Cocytus to the Acheron I have traveled to the men who make fire in their eyes forever. A fire that is as cold as blue is sky. A fire that never consumes them but always consumes them.