Civic Engagement
Luis Jaramillo

From The Doctor’s Wife

The sewer is finally being built, but the Doctor’s Wife and Nancy Taylor haven’t withdrawn from the public sphere. When they hear of a scheme to build an apartment complex on pilings out over the lake, they go to the county courthouse to lodge a formal complaint. It’s not that they’re against development, it’s just that you can’t just let it happen at random, with no thought to how it will impact the people and the land.

“You have to have your husband’s permission to complain,” the clerk says.

“Pardon?” Nancy asks.

“You’re not the owners of record.”

“How so?”

“You’re not on the deeds.”

“Who’s on the deeds?”

“Dr. Hagen and Mr. Taylor. There’s only room for one person’s name on the line.”

“And it just happened to be the men’s names that made it on the forms?” Nancy asks, drawing herself taller. She is very angry. The Doctor’s Wife is mad too, but she also feels herself getting the bad giggles, which in turn infect Nancy. Once the giggles strike dignity is no longer an option. The clerk looks on as Nancy and the Doctor’s Wife cry with laughter.


Luis Jaramillo is the author of The Doctor’s Wife, winner of the Dzanc Books Short Story Collection Contest, an Oprah Book of the Week, and one of NPR’s Best Books of 2012. Luis’s work has also appeared in Open City, Gamers (Soft Skull Press), Tin House Magazine, H.O.W. Journal, and Red Line Blues. He is the Associate Chair of the Writing Program at The New School, where he oversees the undergraduate curriculum and the Riggio Honors Program: Writing & Democracy, teaches courses in fiction and nonfiction, and is Co-Editor of the journal The Inquisitive Eater: New School Food. He received an undergraduate degree from Stanford and an MFA from The New School.

Civic Engagement / Luis Jaramillo

  • Categories →
  • Faculty
  • Works
Back to top