It was sort of surreal the way the whole thing unfolded. We picked up Grandma and Grandpa in […]
HANGNAIL My ex came for three weeks and his leaving is overdue so I am going to move but […]
Charlotte doesn’t speak Spanish. She took two years of French in high school and, because she thought it […]
We’d planned to have dinner with the Hardaways at a restaurant we’d never been to, a popular new fish place. […]
Around the white tablecloth: men in suits with cufflinks. They order Up Olive, Dry, On the rocks. The […]
The woman learned she couldn’t have children. Her doctor said he was very sorry to tell her this, […]
You worry about the eye, the microphone in it that gathers and transmits daughter sounds. Her infant coos, […]
I’ve been on the front porch looking for my son since the first dark clouds moved in. Mikey’s […]
When the bell rings and the bear pulls Henry through the door and off the stoop, I know it is not me that has been taken because Henry and I don’t have that kind of relationship. That’s not to say I don’t love Henry tenderly, though I wouldn’t call it rapture exactly. I do things differently so he won’t leave. I select, for instance, genial shades of lipstick, blouses with mollifying designs, slacks that say, “My husband’s at the ball game.”
I leave a note for my husband, Robert, on the kitchen counter next to the latest issue of his subscription to Popular Mechanics. The note says I know he’s been sleeping with my best friend, Michelle, and by the way, she’s also sleeping with Mark who lives two doors down. I also write that I’m taking the espresso machine I gave him for his birthday. It was really a gift for me. And p.s.: The Mustang we bought with our savings, it wasn’t stolen. I took it.
“Great hair!” “Thanks.” The standard exchange between Carla and any health shop girl. Girls with names like Jasmine […]
It was morning, and the day was white and soft with a low fog that had started the night […]
Bus Poem 4 Just out of Cheyenne, a Greyhound keeps pace with a VW Bug, yellow, this girl’s suitcase down below, […]
The harp sits in the corner gathering dust, ever since Petra’s dog Maisy got spooked by rustling in […]
Mom had already signed me up to be a candy striper by the time she and O’Toole picked me up at Robinson Memorial.
“You need to think about those less fortunate,” she said, as I scratched at the stitches on my wrists. “You need to think of someone other than yourself.”
I knew that what she actually meant was that I needed to think about her. She didn’t know just how much I thought of her, her nightly calls during my depression in which she presented theory after theory regarding what was “wrong” with me. When I wasn’t studying, all I thought about was other people: people I’d let down, people who were sure I could do better, people who wanted me to dress, speak and act differently, my ex who wanted me to drop out of college six months before graduation so we could buy a house for a family we wouldn’t end up having.
The first day of Playwriting 320, I open the door to the classroom and nod hello to fourteen students with expectant faces, weird garb, new tattoos. Earlier today, I considered asking my TA to pass out my syllabi, make introductions, assign homework. I considered not leaving my sister’s hospital room where any day or week now she will surely die. But a professor herself, she insisted that everything flows from a first class. “Go. You need to be there,” she said. “Get the fuck out of my room and give them grief,” then she coughed a laugh I couldn’t echo. When the meds again pulled her under, I made sure the nurse had my cell, then I headed to campus three miles away, the mobile of glass birds for her birthday next week chirping in the back seat. I’m thinking of giving it to her later today.
Ann smelled the elephant before she saw it. Then a mud-grey foot swung past and just ahead, landing to her left. The drover passed, and the tail of the elephant whisked out in front of her, stinking of loose bowels. Ann stopped beside the fruit vendor and watched as the elephant continued up the street. Unusually for Cairo, the market silenced– fruit vendors and veiled maids, mouths gaping, hands extended toward apples, oranges, dates, melon. Then the moment passed, the elephant turned toward the Nile, and the bargaining resumed all around her.
Excerpt from The Odyssey and Dr. Novak
There are in our existence spots of time,
Which with distinct preeminence retain
A renovating Virtue …
(Wordsworth The Prelude)
This is where the odyssey begins, or where I imagine it commences. The time is a warm English summer afternoon in 1946. The place is the front garden of the Unitarian parsonage situated in a modest town barely six miles north of Manchester. Holding my six-year-old hand is Dr. Novak, the head of the Unitarian movement in Czechoslovakia.
Kepler made a decision. He looked up from the sidewalk and stepped directly on a crack. He was twenty-three years old and it was time to grow up. It felt good, a load off, until he got a call from the emergency room saying his mother had stepped on a slug on the back porch, fallen and broken her back. A banana slug, fat and yellow and flattened to the consistency of discarded gum. He wondered if it was poisonous—wasn’t that what bright colors signified in the wild? Danger, toxicity, fangs and stingers? Inside the house his mother was laid out on the couch, her glowing, flowered muumuu signifying something else, though he didn’t know what.
I spent seconds sharing the stage with him in my minor role, hours in the darkened wings watching him perform in the light. He came from Switzerland. He spoke at least three languages. He was a worldly college senior. I remember his curly hair, his long body, his loping stride, but not his name.