In short fiction, it's critical to grab the reader's interest early. In "Discarded," Miranda Suri does that with a superb opening passage:
A dragon lives on Governors Island. He is made out of chair legs, bits of discarded furniture, and afterthoughts. His eyes are the negative space left by splintered pieces of scrollwork from a banister, his scales the sawed-off ends of two-by-fours.Suri's story was inspired by an actual sculpture on Governors Island (pictured above). In the story "Discarded," the dragon is both a work of art and an artist himself. The dragon watches as a fugitive arrives on Governors Island and contemplates what's missing from his own artwork.
By day he sits on display in an outdoor art installation. Cut grass feathers his legs and his faded paint peels. He drowses in the late summer sun while weekend visitors from New York snap his picture and peer at the little plaque by his feet. It amuses him that they believe he is only a piece of art.
"Discarded" is a beautifully written story, and a thought-provoking commentary on the artistic process, one that doesn't necessarily flatter creative people the way literature typically does. I recommend it highly.
Miranda Suri holds a PhD in Anthropology and has published extensively on her archeological research. Her fiction has appeared previously at Electric Spec and at Every Day Fiction.