Between pots of coffee

Shoulders and arms, bones carved from hickory, rawed by fire. I sleep between three and four hours a night. I don’t know, because time is mud. I sit at the kitchen table until Connie comes down, and she complains when the coffee pot is dry. She taught me how to make a fresh pot. Everything […]

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Deep sleeper

She exhales the dreams from her lungs. I brush her hair with my hand, stroking it in short sweeps with my fingers, from forehead to crown. It is thick hair, and short, and the texture feels oily. Fingertips touching scalp, faint aroma of balsam and tobacco.

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Blind color

How many vulgarities of red in the passage to null? Harsh, undisciplined strokes of color overlapping and smudged, from cherry to maroon, blending, bleeding. The pain was negligible, eventually. Dark sparks of light, and then nothing but an afterburn of floating images, ghosts, shadows in an impermanent twilight, fading, falling, until even light became memory. […]

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The shopping trip

Supplies: Bread, milk, Cap’n Crunch cereal, rib eye steaks for four, vanilla fudge swirl ice cream. Oil paints, canvas, brushes, sketch book. Two six-packs of Pepsi, bag of frozen cauliflower, bag of Golden Delicious apples. Wristwatch battery, Excedrin tablets, cowboy boots, package of sun-dried tomatoes, set of four lead crystal water glasses.

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She nodded. “I scare you because I’m stronger than you. Probably stronger than anyone you ever knew. And you don’t know how to deal with it.” And of course she was right. But she was wrong, too. I didn’t want to stay, and I didn’t want to leave. I was in that thin-aired place where […]

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The narcissist’s sister

“So now what?” asked Connie. We sat in her kitchen. The boys were in bed, a swatch of moonlight pouring through the window over the sink, a pale, gauzy, haunted light, and the only sound was the hum of the refrigerator. We sat opposite each other at the table, like card players, or ambassadors. “Now […]

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A passing

My mother passed two weeks after our final conversation. I don’t remember if I told her I loved her, or if she said the same to me. It was implied, wasn’t it?

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Painting Rain

I painted “Rain” in a three-day blur of tequila and sinus medication. I knew I was living the stereotype of a New Yorker cartoon, and relished it. It felt like the my last chance, my only chance. I was nineteen years old and living above a garage, and the sounds of clanking wrenches and air compressors […]

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