Daniel Fitzpatrick grew up in New Orleans and now lives in Hot Springs, Arkansas, with his wife and daughter. He studied Philosophy at the University of Dallas and his poems have appeared or are forthcoming in several journals, including 2River View, Amaryllis, Panoply, Eunoia Review, Ink in Thirds, and Coe Review. He plans to finish his first novel this year. In addition to writing, he enjoys micro-farming, exploring the Ouachita Mountains, and kayaking the Diamond Lakes.
Working in Reverse They were the first I’d earned, the six dollars digging up the stump stuck in chain link like an infant’s fingers in her father’s hair. I’d dragged the fir’s rough cuts from the front yard, where my father walked with saw and ax among the four fresh fallen, still green, bleeding, spicing the red autumn, supple knuckles spreading mellow leaves, as in a boy’s brief nap on the afternoon. I’d dragged them down the oyster alley to the grass beside the cans upon the pile of pearl-stripped shells where the old man sat shucking through the cool, swelling belly sweating through his shirt, cropped chops grizzling decelerate sun. The other one, thinner, skull-cheeked, chewing the cigar long gone, watched me from the fence fretting his rag and bone forearms. He asked in his ash- en cough as I passed, did I wanna make five dollahs. Sure I said shying from his set- tled eyes out of my eight-year accent to show what my sap hands understood of shovels, trying to sound striking the rigorous roots like dad did dealing with the other men. When we’d done he set his wet stogie on the fence, pressed the sweat-soft bill and more into my perfect palm, said tell my mom to buy me a pop. And I went away sad, poor from the second he’d spoken.