Empty Things

1 September 2019 in Writing

She fills her house with empty things. Old birdcages found at Saturday yard sales. A wrought-wire townhome for someday finches, an expansive manse for two former lovebirds (they could not quench their thirst, though separate glasses had been provided). And a souvenir from Vietnam, in whose crisscrossed bamboo shoots, she riddles herself to sleep. She fills her house with empty things. Vintage perfume bottles arranged on a tray on her dresser. Frosted bodies in pink and blue, curvaceous “squeeze me” atomizers whose misshapen forms hardened long ago (she denies any likeness to her heart). And straight away, she dabs herself with one of the cut and polished stoppers smugly gossiping about how to withstand aging. She fills her house with
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Bodies on Stage

18 August 2019 in Theater, Writing

Superstition There is a skeleton me I rarely meet. She jangles and dangles through the farmer’s market and down the aisle to her seat at the opera, pieces becoming suddenly unhinged in the direction things are meant to come apart. There is the muscle and fat me that is always aware of her. My mimic, my delay. My repetition, my echo. Signpost This body is a signpost, like the one in my brother’s backyard pointing to all the places he and his family have visited. The foot slides forward, toward Tibet. The pinky finger escapes sideways, to that small bakery on the Rue des Martyrs in Paris. Palms flip up, returning to the San Francisco Bay Area. Shoulders twist, one
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The Pinecone

16 August 2019 in Heather, Writing

I. Grief knocks the pinecones from my limbs. I can’t pick them up, which makes me wonder if grief is really to blame, or did I deliberately let them loose to lose you, to claim good riddance and then bemoan: I can’t pick them up. More than four seasons pass. I was always a late bloomer. Yet, here they all are again. Fifteen, sixteen, so many months to remind me of you. I twist like a child in elementary school, attempting to whittle my waist. “Helicopters!” shouts the long ago gym teacher. My swaying does not dislodge you. It takes grief, sweeping through like a storm, to knock the pinecones from my limbs. II. I leapt. I left. And you
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Across Town

23 July 2019 in Writing

One cannot sleep. She goes to bed before midnight, with good intentions. Twelve becomes one becomes two. Elsewhere, he has kept the racing grounds open late, just for her. He listens for her hard heel against the walkway. He sits, counting other people’s losses. The ticket window remains unvisited. She arranges two extra pillows the long way down the bed, bedside her. She imagines the someone who might talk her to sleep. The feathers are silent, and she squeezes the next breath out of them. Elsewhere the owl coos. Coo, coo. He drives home at dawn; at the same time her drip irrigation kicks on, waking her from a first fought-for hour of dream. The small birds ignite with life,
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Color Theory

16 July 2019 in Writing

My favorite color is blue, or rather, the plural, blues. The blues of robins eggs all in a nest. It’s taken many years to admit this, to freely declare: I am blue. My grandma’s favorite color was pink, and this made sense to me when I was small and looking for her belt loops to hold on to, balancing on the step stool while helping her stir the cookie dough with a wooden spoon. She looked out her kitchen window at the tulips and petunias. I grunted, stirring. She spent time lost in her mind before smiling, “Pink. Pink is my favorite.” As I grew older, I was surprised (or steeping in first-rinse cynicism) that pink could be a grandma’s
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Spine, Peacock, Spine

12 July 2019 in Writing

(I) A section of my spine is missing. Measuring about six inches, it’s where the road behind my heart collapsed. It’s where the bridge fell. I’ll be honest: I’m an apple without a core. Now, a caterpillar lives there, in the soft void. He curls into himself, not wanting to go out, not wanting to meet people, not wanting to be noticed. Occasionally, he stretches, completing my spine, softly. But today, I find the soft section of my spine on the sidewalk, curled into the shape of a pale green morning bun and squinting at a flower growing out of a crack in the concrete. The soft section of my spine envies the flower, which has grown up without being
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