The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Sandra Gail Lambert’s “The River’s Memory”


Excerpt from Skeleton Jangle – 1918

     They label everything. “Florida Industrial School for Girls” is stamped on each of the crates from our fields, our math slates, our sheets, and the gingham uniforms we have to wear. Mine sticks across my back and I reach around to flap it dry. I never used to sweat like this when I was little. And I smell different. It lies on me thicker than before. The morning might still be cool outside, but the kitchen is always hot, and five more bushels of vegetables need preparing. Behind me, at the other end of the kitchen, only seven of us girls wait around the chopping table for me to lift the next crate, corn this time, which means about three fifths of a crate each. I shouldn’t complain. Uncle’s September letter said the mud in France had frozen that morning. But for me not to worry, that it made it easier for all the soldiers to march through. Before I can squat to lift, I get yelled at from the table.
     “Hey, Darkie, hurry it up. We don’t get breakfast until we’re done.”


This selection comes from Sandra Gail Lambert’s novel The River’s Memory, available now from Twisted Road Publications. Purchase your copy here!

Sandra Gail Lambert writes memoir and fiction. Her writing has been published in New LettersBrevity,The Weekly RumpusWater~Stone Review, the North American ReviewArts & LettersHippocampus, the Alaska Quarterly Review, and a variety of anthologies. Her work has received nominations for a Pushcart Prize and the Best of the Net. Excerpts from her novel,The River’s Memory (Twisted Road/2014), have won prizes from Big Fiction Magazine and the Saints and Sinners Short Fiction Contest. Sandra lives with her partner in Gainesville, Florida—a home base for trips to her beloved rivers and marshes.

Sarah Einstein is the author of Mot: A Memoir (University of Georgia Press 2015), Remnants of Passion (Shebooks 2014). Her essays and short stories have appeared in The Sun, Ninth Letter, PANK and other journals. Her work has been awarded a Pushcart Prize, a Best of the Net, and the AWP Prize in Creative Nonfiction. She is also the prose editor for Stirring: A Literary Collective and the special projects editor for Brevity Magazine. She is a professor of creative writing at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.


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