Edgar Kunz
from 'Fixer'

We’re breaking into your apartment

through your bedroom window.


The maintenance guy’s ladder

is propped against the sill.


I climb the ladder rung by rung,

it shivers, I try not to look down.


A face appears in the glass.

What are you doing, the face says.


I’m looking for my dad’s, I say.

I thought this was his window.


Aren’t you Ken’s boy, he says.

No, I say. Chris’s. Oh Chris, he says,


he’s dead. I know, I say. I thought

you could be Ken’s, he says.


Sorry, I say. Believe me,

the face says. Not my first rodeo.


I climb down. We haul the ladder

to the next window and try again.




It surprises me how little

I recognize what’s here. How long


has it been for you, Noah says.

Almost ten years, I guess.


Four for me, he says, stacking papers

in a ShopRite bag. You think mom


wants any of this, I say. Would you,

he says. I’ll take whatever this is.


I hold up what looks like a mortar

made of bronze. A car starts


on the second try. The window

we crawled in through hangs crooked


in its frame. I want the sword, he says.

He points to the corner of the kitchen


where a rapier leans in its scabbard,

ornate and slim. Did you know dad


had a sword, I say. You don’t remember,

he says. No. I don’t remember.




I think I was in California when you died.

There’s a window, the cop said,


but we can’t be sure. Maybe it happened

while K and I were having sneaky sex


then linking up with friends we missed, friends

from when we used to live there.


Or while getting hammered touring

our old spots – Baggy’s, Heart


and Dagger, Eli’s Mile High – and we tried

to call it, but when we got back


the neighbors were still dancing in their

Halloween best so we started swigging


from a plastic handle and sharing cigs

and shout-singing Baby’s black balloon


makes her fly. Maybe then. Or when

a bearded man in sequins piggybacked


our friend and we reached on tiptoe

to pull ripe pomelos from the dark—




Typically we don’t allow customers

back here, she says, but I’ll make


an exception since we haven’t processed

the morning yet. Totes and boxes marked


“donation” are bound with rope

and stacked neatly on giant rolling carts.


There he is, Noah says, pointing to the bin

we dropped off before lunch.


We slip it out like a huge jenga block,

unsnap the lid. We’re looking


for a velvet case we heard you kept three

silver crosses in, you were always talking


about them, one for each of your boys.

Button-ups, flatware. Stretched-out


tube socks. You sure they were ever

in there, she says. Let me leave you


my number, I say, in case.

Oh honey, she says. The chances of that.




You got the best years of him,

Noah says, considering you’re the oldest.


Luke says He got a lot worse

after you left. Hid in the basement, pissed


in the laundry sink. Pretended to be

writing a book. He was a weak man,


he says, simple as that. When his truck

got stolen, Noah says, is my theory.


That was the tipping point. But he

got it back, I remind them, plus everyone


chipped in, all those Home Depot

gift cards. That made it worse, he says.


It was like he got smaller overnight,

like someone threw water on him.


You heard about the rest: mom

throwing him out, cops and everything.


He was Handy, he says. You were gone

by the time he turned into Chris.




Chris, she says, oh you mean Handy,

great guy, life of the party, the party


was always at his place, him

and your mom’s, plus he could fix


anything, he was amazing, leaky faucet,

done, sticky door, done, lawnmower


won’t start, done, and give him three

of whatever, you name it, didn’t matter


if he was blasted or what, give him

a stapler, a pipe wrench, and a coffee pot


and he’d juggle them as long as you like,

and every time you’d think no way, it’s


over, he’s finished, he’d float

it all right in front of you, smooth


as a seal, then set them down easy one

by one, it was magic, everyone clapping


and carrying on, can’t believe you

never saw it, that’s how he always was.




The heart weighs 360 grams.

Stenosis in the coronary, eighty


percent occlusion. The valves

are unremarkable. The ventricles


are unremarkable. The brain weighs

1310 grams and is normal size


and shape. The brainstem has

the usual patterns on cut surface.


Positive for duloxetine anti-

depressant in the blood. Positive


for nicotine. For ethanol.

The genitals are those of a normal


man. The scalp has no contusion.

The skull has no fracture. The mustache


is a quarter inch, the beard

is a half. The nose and facial bones


are intact. The tongue is

unremarkable. The airway is clear.


Found In Volume 52, No. 03
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  • kunz
Edgar Kunz
About the Author

Edgar Kunz is the author of Fixer (Ecco, 2023) and Tap Out (Ecco, 2019). He has been a National Endowment for the Arts Fellow, a MacDowell Fellow, and a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. He lives in Baltimore and teaches at Goucher College.