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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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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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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On Love

10 April 2019 in Heather, Writing

Sometime one summer when I was almost or maybe ten, I found a bird under one of the lilacs behind the house. I watched it gasp a few last breaths and knew it would die. I kept watching. My little brother swooped in, hollering, and scooped the bird into the bowl of his hands. It’s what I had wanted to do but wouldn’t allow myself. My brother and I examined the bird, from the flutter of the smallest feathers around its neck, soft as love, to its round eye, hardening like spilled ink. I stared into it, and the eye seemed to expand. I observed the point of its beak and was tempted to see if it might pierce my
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My Boy

28 March 2019 in Writing

He slammed the screen door, but the screen door demurred, bouncing against the door frame with a polite pat. He threw his backpack across the cracked-ice Formica tabletop, but the sweat-soaked canvas stopped it in its tracks. With two desires unmet, he couldn’t help but bellow: “I want ice cream!” At this, his mother opened her eyes. Cat nap over, she kicked her outstretched legs off the chrome-framed chair. The thin fabric of her dress, no longer caught in the current of the box fan on the floor, deflated. “The fridge blew out. Everything’s melted.” The boy fell to his knees in front of the box fan and screamed, his voice phasing against the spinning blades. “Ice cream!” He vocoded.
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