Mole Man

by Stuart Dybek Read author interview September 15, 2007
story art

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 she’d 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, “I’m covered with them.”

“Covered with moans,” he repeated, “that’s nice. Baby, you’re 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 that’s what he likes about me, fine.”

“You mean you were just now lying there probably thinking, there’s 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 don’t 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.

About the Author:

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.