- To You in Georgia from Me in North Carolina
Another humid night. The ceilingfan’s pull chain beats outa tinny little rhythm againstthe glass light globe, and the catemerges from his daily hidingready for dinner. It is 8:35 herewhich means it’s also 8:35where you are, because whenyou moved away you slid straight downthe coast like a coin in a slot.This morning at the LaundromatI watched as the little apronedwoman went from machine to machinekeying into each one and fillinga bucket with hundreds of dollarsone dancing quarter at a time.I think sometimes of your optimism,your total insistence that, againstall odds, the world will providewhat’s best for us, the charmingway you insist money is on the wayevery time your palms itch. But whenI asked a man if he was usinga particular cart for his clothes,his negative was the only thinganyone had said to me all day,and when I got home I continuedthe cycle of folding and dirtying towels, [End Page 354] kept pretending to maintain some kindof order, if only in the sock drawer.There was once, summers ago, I feltI knew how the world worked, couldpredict surprises so well they weren’tsurprises at all. But now, it’s more likethis: smell of a neighbor’s turmeric-rich dinner wafting in throughthe window, the sound only a coin makeswhen it hits another coin,a row of washers set to spin. [End Page 355]
jim whiteside recently earned his MFA in creative writing from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Indiana Review, Ninth Letter, and Forklift. Originally from Cookeville, Tennessee, he works as a barista and occasionally teaches in Greensboro, North Carolina.