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Mole Man
by Stuart Dybek

She was saying his name over and over and he had never heard it said that way before. Her voice changed timbre in the dark. Gradually, what had been his name was reduced in her throat to the single vowel of his name, and then reduced further still until all that was left of it was the shuddering sound of her breath forced over her teeth.

She slid from his body and they lay quietly side by side.

"I love your moans," he said softly. In the silence, listening to her breathing evenly once more, he wondered if sheíd heard him or if she had burrowed into sleep.

"Good," she answered, her voice sounding a little flat now that it was her own again, "Iím covered with them."

"Covered with moans," he repeated, "thatís nice. Baby, youíre waxing poetic."

"Moans?" she asked. "Oh, I thought you said moles."

"You thought I just told you that I love your moles?"

"Sorry," she said, "it did sound a little weird, but I figured, well, if thatís what he likes about me, fine."

"You mean you were just now lying there probably thinking, thereís leg-men and tit-men and ass-men and no doubt neck-men and shoulder-men and hair-men, and even soul-men, but I had to get involved with a mole-man?"

"Not exactly," she said. "I donít think it would be fair to categorize you that way. You like it all."

"Even your moles?"

"Especially my moles."

"Mole Man" was originally published in the Southern California Anthology. It appears here by permission of Stuart Dybek.

All content in SmokeLong Quarterly copyright 2003-2014 by its authors.



Stuart Dybek is the author of five books. His two collections of poems are "Brass Knuckles" (Carnegie Mellon, 1979) and "Streets in Their Own Ink" published by FS&G in 2004. His fiction includes "Childhood and Other Neighborhoods," "The Coast of Chicago," and most recently "I Sailed With Magellan," a novel-in-stories. Dybek's work has won numerous awards--a Lannan Prize, a Pen/Malamud Award, a Whiting Writer's Award, a Guggenheim, and numerous O. Henry Prizes and inclusions in Best American Fiction and Best American Poetry among them. His work is frequently anthologized and appears regularly in magazines such as Harper's, The New Yorker, Atlantic, Poetry, Tin House, Ploughshares, and Triquarterly. Dybek teaches at Northwestern University.

Read the interview.
Issue Eighteen (September 15, 2007): When the Toasts Stopped Being Funny by Steve Almond «» Nailed by Robert J. Bradley «» Raymond Carver by Dan Chaon «» The Sound of Success by Terry DeHart «» Ethnic Lego Girls Carry Spears by Heidi W. Durrow «» Mole Man by Stuart Dybek «» Party by Emily Fridlund «» From Halliville To Grice's Town by Jason Jackson «» Starfish by Jeff Landon «» Insomnia of an Elderly French Designer by Sean Lovelace «» Display by Davin Malasarn «» Little Bones by Kuzhali Manickavel «» Stigmata by Susan O'Neill «» Inroads by Dominic Preziosi «» Bachon by Teri Davis Rouvelas «» Voc Rehab Vignettes by Jessica Schantz «» Neighbors by Curtis Smith «» Caging the Thing by Beth Thomas «» Interviews: Steve Almond «» Robert J. Bradley «» Randall Brown «» Dan Chaon «» Terry DeHart «» Heidi W. Durrow «» Stuart Dybek «» Emily Fridlund «» Jason Jackson «» Jeff Landon «» Sean Lovelace «» Davin Malasarn «» Kuzhali Manickavel «» Mary Miller «» Susan O'Neill «» Dominic Preziosi «» Teri Davis Rouvelas «» Jessica Schantz «» Curtis Smith «» Beth Thomas «» Cover Art "Repression of an Open Mind" by Marty D. Ison «» Letter From the Editor
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