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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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Things That Are Heard

We've experienced terrible storms the past few days. Last night, the lightning cracked so loud and close to the bedroom windows I felt the prick of its electricity in my veins, my pulse racing as if stung by a defibrillator. Sometimes the shock of something you considered benign can fry your circuits, leave you clinging to the bed sheets wondering where to seek cover for the next time. Realizing, all this time, you've been standing in an open field, never considering the departure of the sun, even as a slow gallop of clouds, as far as atoms, gathers strength.

When I finally fell asleep, I had terrible dreams about my partner and I staying with a friend in San Francisco. His house was haunted, and while we slept on the first floor, I could clearly hear something walking up the stairs from the basement. When I checked the stairwell, I could only see a foot, ankle, disappearing from view. The clanking and climbing up the steps happened again after I fell back asleep, at which point I awoke my partner, delirious, and we sought our friend on the upper floor. The house is haunted, I cried as he put on black, oily pit-stomper boots, began to lace them. You need to do something.

All houses are haunted. He picked up a wrench, big as a tibia. You need to listen. You need to hear things that need to be heard.

He disappeared with the wrench. We listened very hard.