In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

  • Watching You to See How to React to All This, and: Throwing Pebbles into Perpetual Orbit, and: Sick of Sick, and: Returning Home after the Funeral, and: Where You and I Could Get a Coffee Sit by a Lake and Talk, and: Removing the Butter Dish from the Fridge with a Sense of Urgency
  • Christopher Citro (bio)

Watching You to See How to React to All This

In the distance we’re never sure just what are boats and what might be birds. The sky and the horizon meet in a line the eye loses if it doesn’t hold fast. The bravery it takes to be at the beach instead of back home in the air conditioning. So much of this is opening ourselves up. So much exposed skin, the beautiful people and the lumpy people and the children skittering about screaming at the sea and smacking the sand with tiny shovels. I am beautiful because I am here with you. Light runs along my arms and falls onto the sand where your toes are buried. When I look into your eyes, I can see myself and I’m looking not that bad. I smell like coconuts and I look like one of those people who know what they’re doing. I have no idea what I’m doing. I could be at home gluing together a model of this moment and doing it all wrong, getting pieces stuck to my fingers, considering sniffing the glue then wandering into the backyard to watch strings from the sun fall on me. For two hours. Then getting something to eat. [End Page 143]

Throwing Pebbles into Perpetual Orbit

I love bats. It’s safe to say we all do these days. Vampires are real and deserve psychological counseling. I shouldn’t look at news because all I read are headlines and make up the stories later in my head. I love every glacier that ever scraped bare stone and I’ve never seen a single one. I don’t get out much. Some days I can’t afford a hot dog for lunch. If you buy quality you don’t have to worry what’s inside. The sound of a lone human coughing in a room at night is as timeless as watching waves roll in or trying not to see skulls in the campfire after everyone’s asleep. When I was young, my brothers would throw stones at the stars to bring bats low. First the lob then wait a second or two and down from dark branches these black leather birds pass by so jerkily and swift you couldn’t get a clear image. My brothers were ten feet tall then with arms like railroad tracks. The maples a thousand feet high—easily—and I was a tiny person. I had mosquito repellent sprayed on my knees by my mother. I was protected from everything. [End Page 144]

Sick of Sick

In the future we ended up getting our colds last weeks and weeks. We spend glamorous Saturdays coughing at the arm of the couch, flinching at the thought of someone touching our midsection. The bugs get stronger and we look like dogs wandering wet streets, seeking shelter. Anyways that’s how it feels today. I can hear you coughing from another room. Remember how July felt? I stopped myself in a moment then, thought Don’t take it for granted. I forget what I went and did after that, but confound it if four months later, with windows shut and the furnace on, I don’t feel as if I went ahead and took it for granted. When will I learn? We’ve bought so much cold medicine we’re probably on some sort of registry. The kid at the store doesn’t even ask for our IDs anymore. He just rings the stuff up and gives us that look. Do I make myself cough while swiping my debit card, even if I don’t have to cough just then? Yes, I’ll admit I do. Does it get me anywhere? No, it does not. My brain is muddled with mucus. Every day is the same as the...


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pp. 143-150
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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