Magic. You want it to be there forever. It’s like that time when you’re six years old and you find yourself in first grade with your favorite teacher with your favorite book and you’re transported to a different place; that time when you’re lost out on the beach making sandcastles with your monster friends; it’s drinking wine in a temple with your friends on top of a mountain on the other side of the world.
When you find it, you want to wrap yourself in it. This is what love is. You spend Friday nights going out with friends, doing harmless things like drinking in parks or hanging out at your favorite bar. Your job is nothing to brag about, but you’re not the type to brag anyway. But it’s not just magic. It’s also about the feeling. Feeling safe enough to wrap yourself in the simple pleasure of the moment. How long can I hold onto this magic? Does it have a limit or can it go on forever?
I spit water and unwrap seaweed from my body. I cling to the sand for a moment with weak muscles. When the water exits, something new fills my lungs. And when I look up, for the first time I can feel a world empty of cats and full of fireflies. They fly around me, their light, something akin to optimism, shines down and illuminates my way. Somewhere out of the water, my shadow follows tentatively. Continue Reading »
To Arthur S. Hartford, Esq.
I’m writing concerning a case I hope you might review. From your website, I see you offer a Free Initial Consultation to every prospective client. I’m sure it’s customary to conduct these sessions in person, but I hope you’ll be willing to read this e-mail instead. I find it easier to express myself in writing than out loud, especially when it comes to the matter I’m going to tell you about.
The case concerns an alleged Sex Offense, which I see on the site is one of your areas of expertise.
The victim and her attacker were known to each other before the events I’ll describe. In fact, they dated for several months in college before breaking up and going their separate ways.
A few years later, the woman was working at a bookstore when one day the man came in. After he made his purchase, they began to talk. The man said he was reevaluating his life, thinking of moving to another state. The woman shared that she was in a serious relationship, and said she too was thinking of making some changes, such as going back to school. After a few minutes the man asked if she’d like to go for a beer after work. The woman was enjoying their conversation and said yes. Continue Reading »
Our grandparents always found us. For years, my wife and I packed up our possessions and moved to another city. Then they would find us again. They never called asking where we were, and we never called them. Our grandparents were cordial in the beginning, said they just needed proximity. They’d move into the neighborhood or the next sub-division over.
We’d let our guard down, and they would pounce. The arrived always at dinner time, crock pots in hand and wine for the grownups. There was an incident in Madison involving the destruction of our front door and tire marks on the carpet. They were cycle heads, Gram and Gramp, and when they moved they moved light. My wife offered them Brian, our oldest, after they found us somewhere near the place EST became CST. They refused, said it was the whole family or nothing.
We transitioned to hotels, staying a week at a time. Our children enrolled in online school. Still they found us. Gramp and I exchanged black eyes at a movie theatre in Charleston. Her parents did all they could, up to and including buying us a blueberry island on a lake in northern Maine. We changed our names, sold our possessions, and burned our clothing with the boat we rode in on. The kids were gone by that point, unable to cut it on the road. Continue Reading »
Hide and Seek
Last year I woke up and didn’t see my brother.
He slept across the room from me, but that morning he wasn’t there. No one knew where he’d gone. Not Mama. Not Papa. Not even the maid who picked up my toys when I wasn’t looking. A lot of people came and looked for him. They looked around the house. They looked in the woods outside. I could see them through the window. They even tried to look in the attic, but there were nails in the door. After a while, we couldn’t find him and gave up.
I didn’t miss him.
He’d been older than me and only talked about girls. He wasn’t any fun.
Besides, now there was no one to split dessert with. No one to have to share my toys with. No one else to distract Mama and Papa. Maybe, it’d be nice to have him to play with, but the maid tells me stories and Papa gives piggyback rides, so I really don’t miss him.
Papa was tough. Papa took it okay.
Mama wasn’t. Continue Reading »
Out of the blue
your gray matter
is tickled pink
with flying colors
you achieve peace
so you’re cool
as a cucumber
flat as a pancake
because you see
the whole enchilada
the world is slow
like a brush stroke
that completes a
portrait of bliss
psychic reading or
the third eye
the premiere of
written and directed
starring what is
until you cast
the first stone
one by one
two and two
feeling the rush
– Dane Karmick
Just for a Moment
Did you feel it stop?
Just for a moment.
The earth held its ground and waited for me.
I was running late, just a few moments
and would have missed you
without the earth’s patience.
I ran faster in its pausing
and caught your eye
as the air held its breath.
Did my pounding feet
match your heart?
I was flushed from racing,
a bit out of breath.
I wonder if you thought that, you?
And so we met,
just for that moment.
Me, rosy and breathless,
you, dressed lovely in your suit and tie
standing in line waiting for
“Yes, I’d like that. We can share.”
Tuna and tea for two.
Is that how love happens?
The earth’s master plan shuddering in earthquakes,
whispering in raindrops and pausing in moments?
Did you feel the surge within when it re-started?
Or did your heart think it solely my face?
Not knowing the earth’s conspiracy between us.
– Heather M. Browne
The Green Shirt with the Cat on It
Green and purple and blue light streamed into the church through the pictures of lambs and Jesus with children sitting on his lap. The congregation consisted of forty-seven Baptists, eleven Nazarenes, twenty-two Mormons, six Jews, one lone Muslim, seventeen who did not attend church but were nevertheless bowed in prayer, and a number of individuals who did not believe in God or define themselves as anything religiously. They were friends and parents and teachers and shop owners and doctors and liars and stealers – but they were all mourners. There was a baby who was crying and a ninety-six year old woman who was crying. They wore black pants with collared white shirts, and flowery skirts with gray blouses, and khakis, and dresses, and jeans, and suits. They each had a pamphlet with a picture of a little girl’s face on the front, beaming out at them all, freckles sprinkled across her nose and cheeks. Below her picture was a poem she had written at six years old, just two months before her body was crushed into a thousand pieces by a semi as she was crossing the street on her bike to go to school:
The grass is cool wherever Kalonice walks
The birds love to sing whenever Kalonice talks
Kalonice is sweet and good and kind.
Kalonice dances and sings in my mind
Kalonice, my friend, makes my heart hum.
But where, oh where, is Kalonice from?
Nobody, not one, knew who Kalonice was. The mother of the girl had found the poem folded up in a princess coloring book two days after the accident, composed of unstable writing and a few misspellings, but ones that were easily fixed by cousins and family members who had flown in to support the girl’s family during this “tragic time,” as they put it. The girl’s mother didn’t think it was a time at all. Time had stopped. There was no meaning to time anymore, with her baby gone. May had been her first baby, the baby that had first moved around in her stomach, kicking and playing and hiccupping. Time did not deserve to exist or move forward without May. Continue Reading »