“David Alvarez thought sagebrush stank. No matter who told him how beautiful, how fragrant they found sagebrush, he still thought it smelled. E-voc-a-tive. Evocadar. Evocative of uncleared land killed by contorted, poisonous bushes.” With these simple lines, Scott Archer Jones puts us into Northern New Mexico, puts us into the blue-collar world of working Hispaños, and into the mind of a gentle man who should have lived a hundred years ago. Alvarez struggles under the weight of a murder and tries to do his back-breaking job everyday. He’s messed up from the death of his Army squad in a training accident, and redeemed by visions of the Virgin. This long short story is evocative of entrapment, and of absolution.
Scott Archer Jones’ La Elegía por David Alvarez is about the past that can’t stay buried. Life has a funny way of not letting us forget the things we have done. David is character wrought with trauma, and he just tries to keep his head down and get through his day to day life. Unfortunately circumstances won’t let him.
The setting was another factor in selecting Jones’ story. Having it in a place where bilingualism is the norm, you get a very different vibe than stories we have published before. We take our mission of publishing stories that are as diverse as the people who write them very seriously, and we’re going to be exploring that a lot more this year.