Jasper wasn’t the sort of man who liked to share his food, never had been. This did not sit well with women. They always wanted “just a bite” of this and “a taste” of that and sometimes, he knew, they wanted to share an entrée to stay on their diets even though afterwards, they’d order a rich dessert and he would go home hungry. But these are lessons you learn, especially over the course of a sixteen-year marriage.Read more.
I don’t recall exactly when it first occurred to me that I might be gifted at what I was doing. Others seemed to have noticed, and there were the occasional third-person references to potential—to a bright future. It all felt pretty normal to me, so I just kept doing what I was doing. The assignments quickly became more demanding, the challenges exhilarating and always thoroughly mastered.Read more.
Weigh Her Down, See How She Moves
Shadrach, Ohio, remembers my family. Remembers me. On the rare occasions when I come back to visit the museum that once was our house, more than one hand has found its way to my shoulder to pat comfort. It’s a rhythm I’ve known since I was five years old. Since the day my little sister Dorothy was born.
She wasn’t the first baby born with Mylar’s Syndrome, not by a long shot.
Parents and Children
The twin sisters are fraternal to the sorrow of Peg, the eldest born just before midnight and therefore on an earlier day than Hillary. Their separate birthdays aren’t what riles her. When they were young, Hillary’s parties coming on the heels of Peg’s were forced reruns, neither child getting the celebration she wanted. The trouble is that Peg actually resembles a peg…Read more.
The afternoon sun burned a seal on the floor, the single hung window casting a parallelogram shadow onto the cream vinyl sheets near the foot of Laifa’s hospital bed. A crosshatch of metal bars and the grid pattern of the mosquito net framed the window’s outline, an otherworldly manhole Laifa could fall through into an eternity of light where she’d float weightless in the air as if in space. At peace.Read more.
The tank had worn thin with rust since no one maintained it and more was stored inside than it was designed to hold. Pressure had built high in the oversized vessel and now a jagged crack opened along its exterior. A purple liquid, the secret ingredient in a successful line of chemical preservatives, oozed from it with a noxious smell and pooled on the linoleum floor.Read more.
Don’t Be Like Bluebeard’s Wife
The Y is around the corner from his architectural firm, and I would see Les in the pool every weekday from 1:30-2:30 p.m. That’s why, this fall, I thought it odd when he wasn’t there for a whole week.
Eating in the middle of the day made him sleepy, he said, so he forfeited lunch for ten laps of freestyle followed by ten laps each of the back, breast, and sidestrokes.
“Can we do a drive-by?”
When Chris gets home from work, after he’s changed, but before they’ve eaten, Molly asks him. She clasps her hands under her chin, like she’s praying. She tries to keep her face from doing that grimace thing that Chris can’t stand. He says it’s her panic, her pain. It makes him want to curl up in a ball.
A Leaf Falls
Kevin sat alone in the dappled sunlight beneath a towering oak tree surrounded by gravestones. He gazed fondly at the sculpture of a young woman stricken with grief. Death, like love, obsessed him. The noonday sun etched deep shadows in the mourning bronze figure that knelt on one knee with her head bowed. Despite being covered with the patina of age, it was lovely in its depiction of sadness.Read more.
The way that this forty-something-year-old blonde wearing turquoise cat-eye glasses thwapped my stomach – you’d think she was picking out watermelon. Her pinkish, Anglo-Saxon phalanges bounced off of my ballooned belly. I lay atop the medical exam table, under the singe of fluorescent lights, thinking about the belly I wanted back, the belly I had only a few hours before. A belly that melted into the interstices of my ribcage.Read more.
Carmen and the Boys
If you walk the West End on Commercial Street in Provincetown, inevitably you’ll pass Joe’s Coffee and Café. Early morning, there’s a line out the side door for takeout and inside, the structure that had originally been designed as a bank, has seating throughout. Outside, in front, are a number of wrought iron tables painted wet-black, some under blue umbrellas for shade.Read more.
Instead of confessing my sins at church, I found salvation in my bedroom. Like my father, I wasn’t a fan of altar calls or public confessions, though some kids reveled in the extra attention they got from adults when they participated in the praise and worship service. I felt like an imposter, and the attention made me uneasy. I felt closer to God when I was away from everyone else, alone in the woods or in my tree house.Read more.
Hadaka No Tsukiai: A Natural Communion
While I stared in awe at a huge spider sitting atop a thick, ropy, sparkling cobweb, light filtering down through Meiji Jingu’s forested path, Annie, back in our rented apartment, was fuming, wondering where the hell I was.
My sister and I had chosen to travel to Japan for ten days, neither of us knowing the language.
“A little light,” “Si-ghting 53” and “Letter—for Fernando Pessoa”
As for the darkness of eternity
a little light by your bed
might do as the wind
flings itself against your wall
weathering all away
“Stone Pillow,” “Gold Rush Girl” and “#TrashFries”
I can’t quite make normal work for me.
The angle, the navigating, the placement.
I’ve lost the how to manual for contorting
my body to use makeshift MacGyver skills
and filthy underbrush to survive on.
I’m not sure how it happened.
“The Comforts of Gravity,” “Daydreamer” and “Resonance”
I see the autumn leaves falling. I ponder chance as they release.
Watch as they glide, then gently come to rest. A shading life,
clung to a branch, in the final moments breaking free.
“Intrepid Dreamers,” “Meanwhile” and “Variations on Nineteen Words”
Starved for art,
we were made for poetry;
we are mad for poetry.
Study this hunger;
learn how to feed it.
“Fossils,” “Equinox” and “a beautiful thing”
250 million years ago
an ancient cephalopod
once stretched upon granite
and Time remembers
a tail dragging in thirsty sand.
Meanwhile, She is getting away from us:
a child no one sees
“What is Poetry?,” “Tongue Fire” and “Faucet Father”
Mindset, free flowing, thought exploding
Seasons, and syllables wrapped into one
Tiny perfect package
But also, great plains
Limitless at face value
And deeper when it’s said
Like Snakes Among Vines
In college, she learned about rape myths, the misconceptions and excuses created to downplay the crime and blame the victims. Dani saw the myths plastered on poster board and in the margins of flyers hanging on the walls of every campus building, myths that she didn’t even know she had believed until they were spelled out for her in words and, one by one, debunked.Read more.
A Very Innocent Man
On Monday, at the end of his session with Boadecia, the doctor, leaning back in his chair with his hands crossed behind his head, inquired, with affected nonchalance, “So, you can bring me some business?”
Boadecia, springing from her chair, jumped six inches off the floor, clapped her hands three times, and grinned.
“I can bring more business than you’ll know what to do with.”
Maria Collins used to be so childish, such a baby. Oh yeah, she was going to change the world, take down the man, destroy the machine, let freedom bells ring and then tra-la-la happily ever… never. Such kiddie fantasies. Juvenile righteousness… Right. Juvenile stupidity is more like it. She kicks off her worn-out blanket, sits up and adjusts the straps on the leg, and ties up her boots as tight as she can.Read more.