For a week, the rose lived. Nightly, I brushed my nose against petals, preferring you. This is what I know: when a rose begins to die it gives up its color. At the edges, hardness and darkness take shape. Inside, blushing red petals cling to each other. This is a final intimacy, a softness enduring.
I know because I pulled at the petals till I got to the core, and I held the petals against my outstretched palm, fascinated by the natural bends, the blends of red—I don’t want our love to take on these darker shades. I want us as the last two petals on the stem. I remember Vermont and Italy and the miles in between; my belly without your hand; your chest without my head. We don’t wait under different time zones now, but I’m still asking you to come home.
Last February you were late enough to our date that I pictured your stopping at a busy street corner to get the flowers I told you not to get. I didn’t think I needed flowers to tell me that you loved me. I’ve learned not to walk away, so I ordered without you. When you rushed through the door without flowers, I wanted not to want.…
Madeline knew it was her last day alive. It had to be. When something as natural as breathing takes every effort to do, it’s only postponing the inevitable. She was surrounded by her family, and even though she loved them dearly, she could not help but feel envious when looking at her grandchildren and of all the things they will know that she could not even begin to imagine. The future was uncertain, that much is sure, but the unknown had always held a special kind of allure for her. And now she had finally arrived to the most mysterious unknown.
Life, she thought, was both the longest and shortest experience she ever had. It really did flash before your eyes before you die, and as she inhaled the last breath she would ever take, she finally ended the eighty-seven-year blink that was her life.…
There’s a piece of trash at the gas station Stationary, sitting on the sidewalk Walking towards me is a woman A woman that says, “Hey boy, want some company?” And when she asks if I want company I do want company But company shouldn’t present as it does presently It presents as Looking for you across the room Room to grow in the space you gave me Space that let me lean into uncertainty Like I leaned into my mother’s arms The day you left and when you left I was all dressed up for church It was a robin’s egg dress shirt A blue to match the sky And a tiny blazer that wasn’t quite my size And you picked me up and kissed me…
For over fifteen years, Corbin has worked as a developmental editor and writing consultant helping emerging writers. She holds a Master’s Degree in Education and teaches memoir, personal essay, and craft classes at the Richard Hugo House, universities, and at writing conferences. Her memoir Creating a Life (Catalyst Book Press) was nominated for Pacific Northwest Book Association and Washington State Book Awards; her other titles include Divorce as Opportunity (Booktrope) and her recent memoir God’s Cadillac (out for submission). Her essays have been widely published in journals and in parenting and writing anthologies. She lives in Seattle with her two children. Find her here.
How do you help emerging writers with their goals?
There comes a time when it would be helpful for every writer to have one-on-one feedback from someone with experience. For some writers, they need help in the beginning by organizing the format and structure of the book, fleshing out the theme and making the sure the beginning is as strong as possible. For others, they send me the manuscript when it is complete and want feedback on what works and what doesn’t. Others want help writing a book proposal and pitching their book to agents and publishers.…
I couldn’t afford to eat at restaurants very much, but Jonathan convinced me that we should try this new place called “Squared.”
“What kind of food do they have?” I asked over the top of my laptop screen.
“I don’t know. It’s something new – farm-fusion or something like that,” he said.
“Okay,” I said. “Whatever you want.”
He came up behind me and wrapped his arms around my shoulders.
“I want what you want, too,” he whispered, warming my ear and sending a jolt through my body.
I flushed with warmth and nuzzled into his cheek. I started seeing Jonathan after our class in post-modern poetry. He wasn’t the kind of guy I normally dated. He wore skinny jeans and fitted flannel shirt like they were a uniform, and his saggy knit cap was always on his head. He was conscientious and well-educated – completely opposite from the dude-bros back home.…