I was in a Mexican restaurant in Topeka, Kansas when a man taught me how to peel an avocado. We had driven downtown, past the hate signs, through the empty streets. A town without pedestrians. This is the way you do it, he demonstrated with his empty hands. This is how you separate the skin from the meat. It might’ve been a mango. I … Read More mango
The pines belong here, seventy feet up or more. The oaks have found their way. The greedy hemlock hugs the border, its low-slung, dead branches cover the ground below. There is no light beneath it. A survival technique. A way to keep all of the light and water for itself. The swamp maple is as diseased and twisted and scaly and ornery as it … Read More survival of
You are treasured. Grown by bone and hair, pushing up and out. Flesh surrendering to the pull of gravity, the earth. The basil on the windowsill smells of summer and an open wound. The house smells of ash and the decay of last night’s meal in the can. The day’s frozen air smells of infinity, snaking forward, pushing you into breath, the ache. … Read More treasured
We say we will follow the deer tracks in the snow later in the day but we never do. They all lead to the same place, back to the denuded arbor vitae. We could trace them to our windows and look in as though strangers seeing it all for the first time. The empty bed. The daffodils blooming in the jar. Dust on the … Read More feed
There was a man. Or someone like him. Another man like that. The door was always left unlocked. One night a man wandered in. She couldn’t remember what he looked like. Someone ends up dead or missing. The boss goes missing from his room. You can’t live alone.
The cold is quiet. It is still. Crows are larger than expected. Frost edges the cracks in the pavement. The light is gentle, not punishing. The brother and sister are dressed appropriately for the weather. From a distance, they might be a middle-aged couple walking their dog. Closer, he carries a radio and sings along. She holds the lead. They do not feel the … Read More settle
The purple has dulled, the dandelions blown. After a hard season, the rabbit reabsorbs her fetuses.We may have built this house out of paper, this family out of twigs and thread. There is fire all around us, but the winds push it back. This world is not made of stone and grass; it is made of air and phlegm. We believe it does not … Read More paper
I miss our quiet suffering. I miss not knowing that you are dying. I miss finding out days or months or years later after you have already turned to dust.
Mother always said, “When the man comes, he will be wearing a suit. He will walk up a path covered in rusty pine needles.” I dreamed of him this way–a rumpled stranger outside my house, who stops, and waves. The hard backed chairs push against my spine while his hand pushes closer to my thigh. He pretends to read the program but really he … Read More him
He stands halfway down the staircase while I stand at the top. He has two of the pillows I’d earlier stuffed up into the linen closet in his backpack. He is trying to hide them but they are obvious. I ask him why he has them there, and he stutters, stumbles trying to answer. I reach for him and watch as he falls down … Read More trip
It was all a routine. The man putting his money in behind me at the T who looked like he wanted to kill me. The drunken man on the train platform needed attention, but no one was willing to give it to him. Where had my need gone? I mentioned a name to get a reaction. Watched one dog walk towards another, head down, … Read More decade
The gray sky. Trees burdened with late falling snow, aching and arching with limbs breaking into goose bumps at the thought of someone brushing against them. All winter long there are tracks of deer, leading to the semicircle of gray, black. And a moon. A meandering stream. All winter long snow whispers down and trickles. The birds sing nowhere. Then there are the tracks of … Read More there is so much in it