“The Astronaut” Granta 148
Shirley Jackson Award for short fiction
“What Martinez does with this character is as mesmerizing as the Milky Way on a cloudless night…It’s a tightly woven achievement that you want to sit with and dissect carefully, and one that will stay with you long after you’ve finished.” —Lauren Kane, The Paris Review
Peter had difficulty sleeping when the astronauts began falling to Earth. We watched the television all night. The camera shifted between frames: the black speck, spotted miles above an Albany suburb, slowly descending as if caught in a bubble; magnified by ten, the astronaut in his white suit, suspended in the sky, his arms out, his palms turned back as if he were hugging the air behind him.
“Beautiful Young Women”
Sewanee Review Vol. CXXVI No. 2
“…another fantastic piece. As the story progresses, what looks like an all-girls boarding school reveals itself as something slightly more sinister and strange, themes of female adolescence and eroticism delicately coalesce in a seaside setting and conclude with a resounding finish.” —Lauren Kane, The Paris Review
Beautiful young women stretch their bodies along the cliffs to catch the sun. Their wet bathing costumes, the thimblefuls of water in their navels, begin to dry as the sun rises and warms the air. Seagulls eye their wiggling toes.
“What a day for a swim,” someone says, though they swim every day. Each morning as the sun crests the mountains, they dive into the waves. “Swimming is good for beautiful girls,” Mother Ives likes to say. “Seawater purifies the skin.” Their arms and thighs ache from the cold.
“Badlands” Virginia Quarterly
Review Fall 2017
“Christina Wood Martinez shows
people lost in the labyrinth of history”—ASME
We wake up in the badlands when the sun begins to rise. It was a mistake to keep walking in the dark last night. Every pathway the same, we could have walked in a hundred circles. We put our hands on the ravine walls and used the planets and the stars to orient ourselves. Walk south. We said it, “South, south, south, please, south.” But the planets and the stars, they shifted themselves. Venus, the North Star, Orion’s Belt, they hung themselves in different places each time we looked up. The moon set and the ravine walls became black as the sky and the stars were so bright and close we felt as though we were wading through the dark matter the universe is made of. We had to lie down, we had to sleep.