The Simile Museum

“And so, in those places left vacant by the erroneous reassembly of our selves, the remnants of our amnesias lived like a brood of wasps.”

-Ingrid Rojas Contreras

“The first café I came across looked glassed in at first, plasticked in at closer inspection. It would be open-air in summer, but this evening, through the not fully transparent plastic, with the fluorescent light and the cigarette smoke, the patrons looked embalmed, as if submerged in amber. And among the preserved sat Emma.”

-Rabih Alameddine

“I looked down the length of the Vine. It was a long, narrow place, like a train car that wasn’t going anywhere.”

-Denis Johnson

“When I had been there a little longer, and had seen this phase of crystal clearness followed by long stretches of sunless cold; when the storms of February had pitched their white tents about the devoted village and the wild cavalry of March winds had charged down to their support; I began to understand why Starkfield emerged from its six months’ siege like a starved garrison capitulating without quarter.”

-Edith Wharton

“I still remembered the moment they first arrived, their spaceships burning the atmosphere like comets, like falling angels, and how we’d surrounded the ships in horror, aiming for their thin legs with anything we could find, because the rest of their bodies were armored but the legs snapped like pencils.”

-Brenda Peynado

“I identified the flaws, the weaknesses of my characters–and exploited them–like a thumb digging into the rotten spot of an apple.”

-Benjamin Percy

“But I couldn’t hear what he was saying, and I still couldn’t make out the words when smoke rose around him and he stood holding a giant seashell the size of a baseball glove filled with tobacco and this long, thick, bushy thing I’d later learn was sage that burned and smelled calm, like salt water.”

-Morgan Talty

“I feel an invisibility / like a neutron in a cloud chamber buried in a mile-long / accelerator, where what cannot / be seen is inferred by what the visible / does.”

-Sharon Olds

“The rain lightened, and then turned to gravelly pellets of ice. It began to patter his windshield like the taps of someone trying to get his attention.”

-Rachel Kushner

“Her hands are neatly folded, like two birds, in the shallow dip of her lap.”

-Julie Otsuka