Portrait of Self as Faulkner with Darlings

                    “In writing, you must kill all your darlings.”—William Faulkner (allegedly)

Willie comes home to his Darlings after a long
day of work at the power plant. They rise
from where they were sprawled and run to greet
him. As I Sit Dying leaps up, puts its paws
on Willie’s chest and begins licking his face
as My Mother is a Bird runs to the living room,
grabs a tennis ball and drops it at his feet.
“Today’s the day,” Faulkner sighs as he calls
the darlings out back one at a time to administer
the ‘Old Yeller’ treatment. He shoots dozens
of Darlings: Light in July, The Vanquished,
The Smell and the Fury, and when he runs
out of bullets he strangles them. Awoken
by all the noise I march over from a mile
down the road and catch Willie with only
one darling left and shout “Bill! Would just
one darling kill you?” even though I didn’t
care too much about his writing and only
wanted to go back to sleep, later, it turns
out Yoknapatawpha County, the only surviving
darling, gave him a dozen or so novels and fifty
some short stories and when I read the news,
I let all my darlings sleep in my bed that night,
contorting my body to make room for them all.


Brett Cortelletti is from Mansfield, Ohio. Currently, he is an M.F.A. candidate at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida. In addition to being a reader and a writer, he is also a competitive long-distance runner. Most recently, his work has appeared in Clarion Magazine and The Gordon Square Review.