He told stories at the kitchen table, sitting there smoking thin brown cigarillos, smelling of beer and bacon. His hands weaved the words together, a shirt to be worn for a little while beforechanging into something thicker in the cold. He told of the time you walked home from work in the middle of a mountainous January. How the cold and snow snuck into your feet and the tip of your nose and they had to take you to the emergency room in order for them to save your flesh from mild frostbite. He said you cried when they set the warm water on your toes and wrapped your face with hot cloths to restart the circulation. I can’t imagine you ever crying. You were never the crying type, but he told your secret, that there was indeed enough pain in this world to reduce you to tears.


William L. Alton was born November 5, 1969 and started writing in the Eighties while incarcerated in a psychiatric prison. Since then Alton’s work has appeared in Main Channel Voices, World Audience and Breadcrumb Scabs, among others. In 2010, Alton was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He has published one book titled Heroes of Silence. He earned both his BA and MFA in Creative Writing from Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon where he continues to live. You can find him at

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