Table of Contents



Visual Arts

Per Contra Prize



The Jailer by Liesl Jobson - Click Here

"I haven’t told my mother about the prolonged taunting, the ridicule, the belittling. One night near the end, my husband tells me something, then asks me what he said, but I’m confused. He tells me what he said; he tells me what I said; but even though I said it, I didn’t mean it the way he’s telling it. It’s twisted."

Heat by Nance Knauer - Click Here

"His wife, Grace, waved from the open kitchen window, the flesh of her upper arm wobbling and her fat fingers wriggling. He pretended not to see her and she stopped waving. Although he couldn’t hear her over the noise of the fire, he knew she was singing the same song she sang every Sunday morning while washing the breakfast dishes—Ring of Fire, the Johnny Cash version. He wanted to tell her how much it hurt--he hated what she did to that song."

Metaphysics by Wayne Lewis - Click Here

"She leaned across me as she sat down, teasing my cheek with her breath.  I stayed silent and kept my eyes to my paper, aware of how close her lips had been to my cheek.  A young, mocking smile dancing in the corner of my eye said she knew too.  Below us, my daughter settled herself into the bleachers with hot dog and Coke and conversation.  The other girls, all in red and white, straggled our way."

The Dolphin King by Kuzhali Manickavel - Click Here

"Once Senthil actually made little Karna Awards out of matchboxes and beer caps. They were supposed to look like trophies but they ended up looking like matchboxes with beer caps stuck to them. Later he found a group of children playing cricket and tried to give them away but nobody wanted them."

Ratface by Daniel Post - Click Here

"I grip his ankles on the hard wooden table.  My bent fingers look like claws around his delicate skin.  Sometimes I forget he is only a boy.  The woman pulls his head off the edge of the table.  The boy struggles at first to hold it up, but gives in.  Sunlight plays on the pale of his neck, laid open for either of us to take.  And this is where I think that I should just snatch the knife from the butcher block and chop his disfigured head from his body.  It would be easier; he would return to me as a swan and thank me for my mercy.  But of course I do nothing.  I always do nothing."

The Day Independence Came by Chika Unigwe - Click Here

"I waved until my right arm hurt and I transferred the flag to my left hand. I knew what the colours of the flag meant. The green was for our rich land. And for Joy. The white was for peace. Father taught me all that when he bought me the flag. “We are a rich country. And now with Independence coming, we shall be richer still,” he had  said. Independence was here  and I was supposed to be happy. But the truth was that I was not entirely sure how I felt about it. And my feet hurt in my new leather shoes."

Breakfront by Lesley C. Weston - Click Here

"Bing Crosby crooned “White Christmas” and Mike stood next to me, with his eyes closed, listening.  When the song was over, the Chipmunks took Bing’s place, shrilling their hyper version of “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.”  Then, “Oh Holy Night” started playing.  “You sing it better,” Mike said."




Per Contra Fiction Winter 2007 - 2008

Per Contra: The International Journal of the Arts, Literature and Ideas.
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