A whoop of dry wind hoisted me awake. The curtains were a catch-all for the early light, where it gathered in the folds and shimmered like river water. Morning was already dressed up, rosy-cheeked, wearing a braided stink of highway grit.

No one came to my door to remind me of late check-out time, or to let me know there was fresh coffee in the office pot, or to tell me the cleaning staff was waiting. But there were voices outside, muffled by the cool cinder block walls, and they spoke in a low auditory blur.

Every morning (how many now?), I stepped outside to take a piss in the low brown weeds behind the Motel. Every morning, I hid my face in the crook of my arm and cried until I was husked. I was still listening for you, and, hearing nothing, I waited by a dead highway.

Tú allí!” she shouted, and I jumped. “You there!”

Mara stood at the edge of the parking lot and gestured for me. She did not seem angry or irritated, but I did not know her well enough to know her. She often wore her hair plaited, sometimes wrapped in a scarf. Now it was loose, and it flowed below her waist. She wore a blousy ivory caftan that almost matched the color of her hair, and a pair of holystoned sandals.

For a moment, I saw myself caught in the geometry of light that boxed her against the horizon. If I were an artist, I would draw her in dark crayons, and if I were a photographer, I would have filled a camera with her.

I waved, but she looked straight through me.


From a work in progress, tentatively titled The Death of Edison.


11 thoughts on “Mara

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