Fiction


This is my selected fiction from Gutter, The Fiddlehead, Extra Teeth, untethered, PEN, The Stockholm Review of Literature, The Island Review and Outside In Literary & Travel Magazine. My work has also appeared in Tin House, Valve and other publications.


Lemon

Five men follow me in the souk. It’s mid-morning, and the heat and the crowd snatch at my breath. Two of the men linger by the tomatoes and peas. One buys lentils and two more walk the dirt parapet where chicken heads bloody the ground.

Miriam Vaswani, Lemon, Extra Teeth 4

Dark Colours Of Nature

I liked to walk by the Øresund early in the morning. If I faced the water, the city would move unblinking behind me, and far behind it was the place I’d come from. The distance was extreme and full of obstacles; land, ocean, borders, language.

Miriam Vaswani, Dark Colours Of Nature, The Fiddlehead 288

Black T-Shirt, A Little Faded

The window was open, the ocean was quiet and I could hear the forest. It was restless with creatures who could run without disturbing a leaf or breaking a blade of grass, and they called and moaned for each other. I wondered if they had been separated by the storm.

Miriam Vaswani, Black T-Shirt, A Little Faded, untethered 5.2

Smoke

Cults have a thing about clothes. You can’t walk around in a clown costume or space suit, or naked, because that would break a clear rule. But the uniform has to be ridiculous enough to keep people from empathising with you.

Miriam Vaswani, Smoke, Gutter 22

An Old Word For Frost

My language defies search engines; its roots are dark, and dispersed. It spent centuries living underground, never spoken above a whisper, and then climbed back into the daylight.

Miriam Vaswani, An Old Word For Frost, PEN anthology for the 700th anniversary of the Treaty of Arbroath

Small Bribes

Sébastien stands on Jasmira’s other side now, and Chaima looks at them from the window. She blows smoke through the wooden slats of a shutter they pulled closed to keep out the worst of the heat. Jasmira wonders if they disgust her, three foreigners picking through her country’s filthy laundry. And if so, who disgusts her the most.

Miriam Vaswani, Small Bribes, untethered 4.1

Radio Preacher

This is the end of the island we never changed. The campers always stayed at the warmer end, near the mainland. They’d sometimes wander out here to have a look, but they did no harm. They only wanted to touch a bit of history, run their soft hands along its stony surface.

Miriam Vaswani, Radio Preacher, The Island Review

Rainwater

On the ceiling, something is painted, or rubbed away. It’s an oily patch of nothing, it could be a shadow. It could be damp, or a leak. Wen would like to get up, get the ladder and investigate. He lays still.

Miriam Vaswani, Rainwater, The Island Review

First Winter

Noah was sitting at the bar when I walked in, making shapes on a beer mat with a blue Bic pen. He stood to hug me, and his watch clipped the bottle he’d been drinking from. It rolled, empty, across the bar and was caught by the bartender, a woman about Shelly’s age. I was intensely jealous of her; she’d finish her shift and go home to something, or nothing, but probably not fresh grief. Children who needed help with their homework. A sink that needed unblocking.

Miriam Vaswani, First Winter, Stockholm Review of Literature

In The Dead Man’s House

I started to walk with the dead man’s lover late at night. We were both bad sleepers and fond of wandering under streetlights, pausing to admire the way black clouds covered and uncovered the moon.

Miriam Vaswani, In The Dead Man’s House, Stockholm Review of Literature

Frankfurt

In the trunk of his car he carried a bottle of wine chosen from his cellar three floors below Brussels. He presented it to me after we kissed, after I let him into the parking garage under my flat, between shimmering German cars with Swiss and Italian license plates, insect corpses smashed on windshields.

Miriam Vaswani, Frankfurt, Gutter 8

Hotels

I’d like to forget the name of that hotel, but I see it in every city centre, on every motorway. They still send me emails. Twenty-nine pounds for a double room in Dundee on the second weekend in May. I stepped across the border of the room into a landscape of brown carpet and hard white sheets that never fell right.

Miriam Vaswani, Hotels, Outside In Literary & Travel Magazine