james warner


The Anxieties of Fatherhood

All Her Father’s Guns

by James Warner

Numina Press, 2011

200 pages / $14  Buy from Amazon







My father tells this story of when I was a few weeks old. His mother-in-law, visiting one afternoon, happened to observe his baby-changing skills. In the Soviet Union in the late seventies, changing a diaper was as much a matter of necessity as an art form, the most skillful parents able to wrap a baby in such a way that a lace triangle sewn to one corner of the blanket would always fall against the baby’s tender cheek. My father spread some flannelette blankets over his writing desk. The baby—me—was unwrapped, wiped, powdered, dressed in a clean shirt, several layers of cheesecloth serving as a diaper, and wrapped into several sheets and blankets. My grandmother was impressed. Pleased and honored by her praise, validated in his success as a parent, my proud father lifted me off the desk and up high into the air. My grandmother shrieked in horror. In his moment of glory, my father miscalculated the size of the space he had to work with and hit me, head first, against a bookshelf.


October 3rd, 2011 / 12:00 pm