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Maurice Carlos Ruffin

Maurice Carlos Ruffin’s work has appeared in Unfathomable City: A New Orleans Atlas, AGNI, Kenyon Review, Callaloo, Massachusetts Review, the Bitter Southerner, LitHub, Pacific Standard, and the Los Angeles Times. He is the winner of the Iowa Review Fiction Award, the Soto Speak Journal Short Story Award, and the William Faulkner Competition for Novel in Progress. His first novel, We Cast A Shadow (Random House, 2019), is forthcoming.


Personal Terrors

Summer 2018 | Criticism

The first time a police officer runs his hand up the secret space between my legs, I’m sixteen. I’ve just walked out of a dance. I’m not drunk. In fact, with one exception, I won’t even have a glass of wine until my midtwenties. I’m not high. I’ll never smoke a joint or do ecstasy. I’m certainly not armed. Even firecrackers scare me. But I am almost six-three in my boots. I’m over 270 pounds, which was useful during my aborted stint on my high school football team. And, yes, I’m Black. 

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