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"When My Body Smashed Into the Sidewalk" by Yuvi Zalkow

“When My Body Smashed Into the Sidewalk” appeared in the fall 2007 issue of Carve.“A story can bring the dead to life.” So says the narrator of Yuvi Zaklow’s “When My Body Smashed Into the Sidewalk.” And indeed, the dead do come to life in this curious and unsettling story from the fall 2007 issue.

The narrator, who we learn had died jumping off a 30-story building that had caught on fire (a scene that deliberately conjures 9/11), speaks to us from the beyond. He tells us the story of a woman, Noku, who witnessed up-close the gruesome fate of his body as it hit the ground. The experience understandably traumatizes her, and mirroring the narrator’s storytelling, she starts writing stories in a crazed frenzy about the life of the jumper—a stranger to her—with uncannily accurate detail.

The story’s posthumous narration swirls in a rambling, dream-like state, introducing a broad swath of characters whose lives surreally interweave or parallel each other. Characters overlap in surprising ways, such as Noku’s aborted daughter, who eerily carries the name of the narrator’s mother, Tziona. Another example is the symmetry in the trajectories of Noku’s and her mother’s lives; both suffered from unbearable traumas, Noku from the aforementioned jumper’s death, and her mother from memories of Hiroshima.

“When My Body” offers many layers to unravel for those who allow it subsequent reads. It “haunts” its reader, both with its cast of ghosts as well as through images it presents that appear and reappear at unexpected and poignant moments (keep an eye out for the scent of mint leaves).

Read, comment on, and share “When My Body Smashed Into the Sidewalk,” our latest Story Spotlight.

Yuvi has also just released a new novel: “A Brilliant Novel in the Works”. Visit yuvizalkow.com for more.