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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Rome

7 July 2019 in Writing

She arrived in Rome in June in an all-white sundress and fancy strappy sandals that her mother had said were impractical for a tour of Italy. She was 24. She’d worn them anyway. After squeezing her Samsonite into the hotel room that would be hers for a week, she threw a scarf over her shoulders and set out to wander the streets. At the end of the first block, a strap on her sandal broke. The shoe rapped against the stone like a teacher’s cane against the blackboard. She reached down, trying to adjust it and make it serviceable. The sky cracked like an egg, pouring forth rain. Determined not to return to her hotel room, she navigated the buildings’
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The Unanswered Question

29 June 2019 in Writing

The accordion lies dismembered on his workbench. The front grille and rear shell, having been removed and placed near the window, throw pearlescent shadows on the wall. Pins and small screws rest on individual scraps of paper, identified by designations written in spidery handwriting. It’s a cipher only he understands: A1, Z2, H, 5, O. He stretches the bellows from one end of the workbench to the other and begins examining each fold for bugs, or holes, or both. While working, his mind drifts but he doesn’t realize it. He wonders what love is, and if he will know it, if he were to love. He cradles the keyboard end of the accordion in the crook of his arm. Closing
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Laundering

1 May 2019 in Writing

The clothesline was in the back yard, not at the edge of the garden, where neighbors placed theirs. Clothes don’t grow like carrots, I remember thinking, and I wouldn’t thin a line of clothes by plucking and discarding the undesirables. The back yard was better, anyway, for the swath of thick green grass that separated the house from the field. There, the clothesline spun around, an almost spider’s web of cotton and denim, sheets and underpants, all crisping in the sun. Actual clothes on the line were long ago; now, I hang the laundry of memories and lost loves. My head flops back as I stretch to pin each one on the line. From under the lilac bush, one of
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