A Sign of God
It’s raining the day she meets her first grandchild. Soon there are five of them, small and dirty and sweet-smelling. She’s easy with them, more so than with her own children. She calls them devils when they come to her, holding out worms and candy.
You’re All in Big Trouble
Mrs. Gwynn’s markering made that butcher paper sing. Person! It chirped in my right ear. Person! It cooed in the left. Person! It ballyhooed around my legs and feet. Her nostrils widened, then her face drew tight. I knew she smelled the sharp tang of milk parlor on me, chlorinated-manure stink that went deeper than scalding water and soaps. I was proud.
Never and Always
I’m sorry to do this to you right now. I know the movers are coming in two days. I can picture you in your apartment: the sunset over the city glistening through your floor-to-ceiling windows, Joni Mitchell or Linda Ronstadt crooning in the background while you bubble-wrap your dishes. I know you don’t have time for this. Timing has never been my strong suit. My only defense is: I can’t think about anything else.
Do you, by any chance, remember the first time we met?
Nearing the corner I held the rifle steady, my trigger-finger taut. My heart thumped with this simple thrill. These new guns were quick to fire, and accurate, but we’d yet to work out how to store two rubber bands, so I still only had the one shot. I couldn’t waste it. Halfway to the corner, a blind angle obscured by honeysuckle, I paused, listening.
The perfect object is a bird never seen, heard, or otherwise sensed behind fir trees along the bank of a river sounding ceaselessly, while you walk with her hand-in-hand through the undergrowth.
I thought the worst was over. Surgery, chemo, hormonal treatment, which they don’t tell you is actually hormone-blocking treatment. So then: hot flashes, crappy sleep, looking for clothes that disguise my lopsided chest.
“Clinton Lake is much nicer than the mud heaps around Salina,” she said, pulling a two-pound bag of beef jerky out of the cabinet. She stuffed it into an overfilled grocery bag.
The notice came in the mail on Tuesday, but it remained sitting beside the refrigerator, resting, ignored, like a piece of partly burned cake.
Corner of Main and Paradise
The man stands on the same street corner near the wire garbage can every day. He never sits or squats or leans. He is a pole, planted on the corner like a reminder of something.
Friday Morning, Long Island
I keep thinking of a poem you wrote last spring, just before you became pregnant, the one with the line, "From that first shrouded encounter, clearer and clearer it comes, my love, overwhelmed."
These Are Not My Beautiful Slippers
Someone has given Alberto the wrong body. It’s too small. Some parts are missing. He takes it off and hangs it carefully upon a limb of a tall strong oak tree, which is always watching him.
All Parent Email
P.S. As the buses are pulling in for dismissal, I’d like to commend Ms. Clark, who is currently plopped in a swivel chair combing the pills off her Shih Tzu, for surviving the brunt of instruction today. Well done, young lady! Tomorrow we’ll return to business as usual :)
If I Were You
Every once in a while, someone from my former life could come crawling to my porch. They would be penitent, worried, missing me. And after I sank my fangs into their neck, I would send them away again.
Cat Out of the Bag
Cynthia totally loathed Mr. Personality, but that wasn’t why she’d killed him. She wasn’t in the habit of expunging life from small, helpless creatures.
The Playgirl of the Western World
Chekhov left stories, reminding Popeline Magrath that kindness was the raison d’être. Things were not the prize, but Popeline never read anything Chekhov wrote, never got his moralizing finger-wag...