Sleepingfish infinite
Process News 1

excerpt from THE STATIC HERD by Beth Steidle



He was wild when they found him. Crawling like a wounded deer on buckled fours in the middle of the road. A clot of tumor lodged in an airway. There was blood and vomit on his face and chest.

The man who drove him to the emergency room would later renovate the kitchen.

Meanwhile, his son was on the way to the same hospital to receive the first round of rabies shots. In broad daylight, a raccoon had attacked the dogs in pursuit of their water bowl. The son had beaten the red-eyed, frothing thing off with a stick.

Afterword, the son stood in the kitchen with blood on his face and could not confidently say that it had not gotten into his eyes.

There was confusion at the hospital because the father and the son have the same name. When the son arrived just minutes after the father, the nurse kept tapping the privacy screen over her computer screen and repeating, but you’re already here.

From where the mother sat the computer screen appeared as a flat, milky plane.

Later, after the kitchen was renovated, she painted a forest around the border, just below the stark place where the wall meets the ceiling. Spattered boughs were splayed over the doorways and windows. The father said, you’ve ruined it. She said, but you said you wanted to die out in the open.

The solution is to turn the whole world inside out.


This examination was performed on 08/19/2011 at 11:34 AM.

Beth Steidle: Deer

Patient Name: S, W
Admission Date: 08/19/11
DOB: 05/12/1947
Age: 64
Sex: M
Pt status: ADM IN
Admitting physician: THOMR
Visit: H00957677
MR: L791032
JOB#: 13397824/478333677
Report: Today I learned the year of my father’s birth.

FINDINGS: There is a large high attenuation mass in the left frontal lobe. There is considerable surrounding this mass. There is 6 mm shift to the right. There is effacement noted on the left. There is a. There is. There is. There is no. This is unchanged when compared to the previous examination performed earlier on the same day. This critical finding was discussed with Dr. J at 2 AM by the on-call radiologist Dr. Q.

HISTORY: An immaculate birth. The silhouette emerged radiant and immediately leaned towards the sun. Favor a heartbreaker. Favor a hellraiser.

IMPRESSION: Venation of the underbelly reveals splintered boughs. The forest opens when prodded. The body’s fields are clear. The angles are sharp. The bones are soft. The orbits cave in to the eyes. The eyes are faded plums, damp and quiet. The mother does not believe the baby should be touched too often or too long. Some water moves over and shadows over that.

Process News

Beth Steidle is a writer, illustrator and book designer currently living in Brooklyn, NY. Her work has appeared in Fairy Tale Review, Drunken Boat, DIAGRAM, KGB Bar Lit and several print anthologies. Her first book, The Static Herd, a collection of text and illustrations (from which this excerpt was taken), was just published by Calamari Press.


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