One quarter mile each way, six days a week, she walks to the mailbox. Following her, along the gravel road, a dog, large, brindled, and old. The postal service wants to deliver mail one less day each week. She wonders what she will do on the day of no delivery. The dog just follows behind her.
--Dana Hoeschen, Pepin, WI
FOR MY BROTHER
FOR MY BROTHER
You started clenched at the far end of the hall and landed with your head through the plate-glass window on the bedroom door. A fussy silence followed. The babies choked on their hush. You said: "I'm gonna be dead meat." What was it that set you down that sticky runway, a wanted and furious arrow?
--Melina Rutter, Spokane WA
SMILEY FACED OBSESSION
Coffee. Login. Status Available. Six smiley faces. No KPM. Laundry, dog poo, errands, pick up kids. Move laptop to counter. View contacts. No KPM. Prep dinner. Hide screen. Hot bath. Chenille robe. Unhide screen. Refresh. KPM…There you are! Touch his initials. Status Invisible. Shut down. Goodnight.
--Kathleen Parvizi, Scotts Valley, CA
Mortuary called. Mom's ready for pick-up. He hands me a shopping bag and I write a check. Outside the sun is bright, the sidewalk slick from a recent rain. I slip, fall, reach out to take hold of the cardboard box before it gets damp. Shopping was my mother's favorite pastime. We used to argue a lot.
--Manjula Stokes, Santa Cruz, CA
Last night I dreamed I ate a giant marshmallow. When I woke up, the pillow was gone.
--Keith Fisher, Marina del Rey, CA
THE NEW WIDOW
She awoke, her husband's empty space on the bed a bitter reminder of their dispute in the night. In the kitchen, the liquor cabinet hung ajar, the bottles inside knocked carelessly over. She looked out a window, and the air rang with anguish as the new widow saw the overturned tractor outside.
--Mark Walsh, Santa Cruz, CA