A green light to greatness.®

2017 Ten Spurs introduction

by Kim Cross

2017 Ten Spurs introduction

Tribe member and award-winning author Kim Cross contributed this introduction to the 2017 Ten Spurs anthology.

Can I get a witness?

On a cold, winter night, fuzzy with drift of a steady snowfall, I stood behind the closed door of my walk-in closet. In the dark. Half-dressed. Shivering. A quiet and subtle flow of warm air confirmed what I knew to be true and logical — my home’s heating system still worked. In the dim light, the clothes that surrounded me appeared as vague, indistinctive shapes, lurking menacingly, had I not known each fabric piece personally and intimately. I should have felt safe in my own home. Logically. But my rapid heartbeats contradicted sound judgment.


When I came back from Africa, my house was gone. I knew it wouldn’t be there. From a safe distance, nearly 6,000 miles east of Texas, I had tracked its final moments. When the windows exploded. When the roof ripped off. When the bricks blew away. ... The Internet told the story of the tornado that destroyed my house. What it could not tell me was if the people inside my house had survived. If my husband, my mother, and my dog were alive.

The children left behind

The deputies and agents continually scanned their quadrants of the area for signs of movement. Then suddenly with no lights on, the front door swung partially open. Focusing on the green glow that a warm body gives off, one deputy saw through his binoculars a small dark figure run out through the front gate to the unpaved road. The little body, clothed in what looked like a skeleton outline, looked left then right, then ran back into the house.

Searching for Sarah Powell

At an age when young girls started to wear their skirts down and their hair up and blush from the attention of young men, she had to become manager of the farm and caretaker of her mother. Sarah tied on a bonnet to shade her skin, pulled work gloves over hands more accustomed to stirring biscuits, and hitched the plow behind the family mule. Single-handedly she managed chickens, cows, a garden, and acres of cotton and sorghum.

My mother's bread

Food haunted my dreams whether I was awake or asleep. I dreamed of ice cream, and Snickers bars, and breakfast tacos and waffles with syrup. Every inch of my body longed for sugary snow cones with their syrup dripping down my wrists in the summer, or glazed donuts that made my jaw tighten with their sweetness, or French fries dipped in milkshakes. Mostly, though, I craved my mother’s bread.

Mourning a mother still here

My mother is lost. The woman who has spent the better part of her adult life driving around the bustling metropolis of her birth, a place she knows as well as the ancient spice rack perched on her kitchen counter, is hopelessly, irretrievably lost.

Milledgeville, a bird sanctuary

If you’ve ever watched the sky, you’re likely to have noticed birds circling — some to track their prey, some so deeply invested in susurration that they seem to share one mind and one breath of wind. And some birds — searching as we all do for the way home — circle an area to orientate themselves for navigation purposes.


All my life but I never could tell what was really going on with him. I couldn’t tell what was really going on with him because it was hard to pinpoint exactly who he was as he mimicked many ghetto legends very well. His favorite being Jay Z. He is a man of many faces. Faces he uses to hide the one he cannot face in the mirror.

Digging up, digging deep

Bathed in sunlight and clothed in torn khaki trousers, green shirt, rope belt, and blue canvas shoes, the bloated corpse drifted south with the Hillsborough River toward Tampa Bay. Stuffed inside his pockets were Lucky Strikes, Pall Malls, and matches, along with three pennies, a pink comb, and a church key for opening beers.


The Past comes to us, oft times, dressed in a fine-remembered romance. The Future, hopefully, flies in fancy-colored balloons. The Present ties, seamlessly, the two. But what if something goes wrong in time? What if one afternoon this smooth unspooling suddenly stops?


The Magazine