09/18/2021

Cole Phillips ~ Quiet

At the apple orchard we’re walk­ing, after the moth­er and daugh­ter farm­ers at the counter give us our waxy paper bags, and it’s a lit­tle too late in the season—too few apples left, and often rot­ted. There are few­er peo­ple here than we’d expect­ed, too, and you tell me that, in some way, it’s mak­ing you self-con­scious. You’ve dressed up too much, too many fall col­ors, where our envi­ron­ment is grayed and yel­lowed. On your phone, you answer a text from your moth­er which you tell me frus­trates you: Why does she need to know where I—

In your cut­ting your­self off, you look ahead and I fol­low your eyes: a man on the ground, criss-cross-apple-sauce, hud­dled around a BabyBjörn with a dog beside him bark­ing and, then, qui­et as we are.

~

Cole Phillips (he/him) is a writer and edu­ca­tor liv­ing in Maine with his dogs October and Smudge. He holds an MFA from New England College. His work has appeared in Juked, Post Road, Green Mountains Review, and else­where, and has been longlist­ed for the Wigleaf Top 50 Very Short Fictions. He is the author of Standish Blue (Ghost City Press).