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Tameka Cage Conley

Tameka Cage Conley is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her work has appeared in Ploughshares, Callaloo, and the African American Review. She teaches advanced fiction writing at the University of Iowa, where she holds the Provost Postgraduate Visiting Writer Fellowship in Fiction.  


Illustration by Arianna Vairo

Fields and Fields Aflame

Winter 2018 | Fiction

Who would Oval become now that her mother was dead, she wondered. She considered the sun, a ball of light and strength that no one thought of except when the world was too hot to bear or when the world was gray, and there was rain, what power that must take, and of course it would burn out and burn away and leave nothing but sky. These thoughts wrapped around Oval as dust on the walnut floor attached to the loose hairs of her thick braid, slick and dark as onyx. The night before, the log fire had found secret auburn strands amid the black of her hair, as the fire lit her face and head while she tended her feverish mother whose skin dripped sweat and felt burning hot to the touch.