by Summer Block Kumar
January 2009 "Six of the Month" Nominee
The old man had carried the crossword puzzle folded in his wallet for so long that the paper had gone soft and fine as cotton. He was one clue away from being done. He was too old to hurry. He was waiting for the world to teach him another word for relent. "Slacken," his son-in-law said loudly in the visitors lounge, "seven letters." His son-in-law was right: now nothing else fits.
Summer Block Kumar's essays, short fiction, and poetry have appeared in a wide variety of publications, including artnet.com, McSweeneys, Small Spiral Notebook, Tarpaulin Sky, DIAGRAM, the San Francisco Chronicle, Monkeybicycle, Stirring, ALARM, Identity Theory, January Magazine, Rain Taxi, Newsweek Select, and Tripmaster Monkey. Visit her website here.