In stock (can be backordered)

ISBN: 978-1-62557-843-3


Publication Date: March 2024


In this “hybridiary” of historical fiction and personal memoir, we peer inside baby incubators at Coney Island, waiting for childhood to take wing. We overhear the dying dreams of the Imperial Romanov family, and we fret the simple act of watching a child walk to class. Hope is a bright and constant thread: a tornado cuts a tender swath; a lady bides time inside a tiger’s claws; teenagers preen on screens during pandemic lockdown. Rescues are fumbled but perpetually launched—and love is a gift the way the sun is a gift: constant and consoling, but also blinding, near-obliterating. Tragic, funny, and surreal, FEATHER ROUSING nests in the spaces between caretaking and grief, secret and spectacle, recollection and imagination, global anguish and private joy.

from “Swath”

The speed. The swirl. The spread. The sound. Everywhere its roar, its width, its pull, its push, its force. All the tornado was supposed to do or be simply was. It was everything and the absence of everything. As it consumed, it learned: the yearning in rooftops shingled by men too young to grow good beards. The weariness soaked into bathtubs. The outrage bolted into door locks. The terror squeezed into teddy bears. The anxiety paced into threadbare rugs and poured into flasks wedged behind textbooks. In one gulp, the tornado swallowed all the flirtation and humiliation of the city pool. The shame of locker rooms. The sweat of bean fields. The despair chalked into concrete courts in the prison rec yard.

Yes, the tornado could do better than kittens. It could absorb anguish, remove what those on earth believed already ruined. Benevolence pulsed its vortex.

It headed northeast, towards the airport, the endless echoes of Goodbye and Please Come Back.

Suddenly, the tornado pulled south. It was two miles wide.

Nearby was a wellspring of deep, maybe endless, grief. The tornado veered towards the place. There were rows of stones etched with names, names, names, some faded, some freshly crisp. The new-mown grass was planted with flags and plastic flowers. Below the lawn, the loam itself was layered with centuries of torment. The tornado was drawn by the pain of leaving— and the anticipation of such pain.

Keep in mind: a tornado swallowing human sorrow would grow beyond all measure. How would it ever stop? It wouldn’t—unless something intervened.


Rebecca Meacham has the uncanny knack of blending the historical with the metaphorical, the practical with the fantastic. Her flash explores the limits of the sky, her characters reaching their ultimate heights, even when perpetually grounded. A beautiful poetry has been woven through all these tales, the poetry of the human, which Meacham seems to understand, can bend to her will.

—Michael Czyzniejewski, author of The Amnesiac in the Maze: Stories

This ineffable collection reads like sadness, like music, like poetry, like instinct, like mothers and children and the heart beating right out of your chest. I adored it!

—Amber Sparks, author of And I Do Not Forgive You

In this genre-blending chapbook of stories and essays, Meacham uses historical events to comment on what it means to be a mother, a daughter, and a wife amidst the uncertainties of our world. Beautifully written, this fable-like collection, full of delight and intrigue, explores what it means to live and love and survive.

—LaTanya McQueen, author of When the Reckoning Comes

About the Author

© Kara Counard

Rebecca Meacham

Rebecca Meacham’s short story collection, Let’s Do, won UNT Press’s Katherine Anne Porter Prize in Fiction, and her flash fiction collection, Morbid Curiosities, won the New Delta Review chapbook prize. Her work has appeared most recently in Best Microfiction 2021, Wigleaf, Had, and Gigantic Sequins, and her prose has been set to music, translated into Polish, and carved into woodblocks and letter-pressed by steamroller. She is a professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, where she directs The Teaching Press and chairs the BFA in Writing and Applied Arts program. Her chapbook, Feather Rousing, is forthcoming with BLP in spring 2024.

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