Undressing in the winter is a chore. He watches me remove my heavy coat, my gloves, and my hat. I expected his living space to look like a fire station, but it’s just a house. No medals on the wall. No Dalmatians in the corner. No trucks in a big garage off to the side. No memorabilia whatsoever other than an empty box of Miller Light near a recycling bin in the corner. The kitchen looks like 1982, all brown and orange and Formica.
The cat's dry food dish is full. A tiny paper plate with hardened bits of Beef Classic sits on the gross floor next to the water dish. The linoleum is faded and torn. I'm supposed to bring a child into this kitchen? With the floors looking like that
Soon, the mother will open the paper again. She’ll read a letter. A woman will write to the editor after reading about the accident. She’d seen the man on the side of the road waving at her car. It was after midnight, she was alone, and she didn’t stop.
We’re at Marketside shopping for my father-in-law, a schizophrenic who’s been on and off drugs and alcohol most of his life. Currently, he is lucid and recovering from a broken hip in an after care center in west Phoenix. He asked us to bring him Rold Gold pretzels, instant coffee, pizza, and air freshener. He told us not to go to Safeway. They don’t sell Rold Gold there.
In early spring, I move my things into the house David built with his ex-wife. My dishes go away in the custom cabinets I know she helped design. This end table I’d planned to refinish but then didn’t goes next to a dark green couch I remember him telling me came from one of their furniture buying missions in southern Arizona. The couch is a shade of green you only see under the water. Standing in her house, knowing she’s the one who put in the ceramic light plates, makes me admit to myself she had good taste.
Freefall (CNF) originally published with the New England Review
The doctor is running late this morning, and my stomach has pushed my heart into my throat. The nurse—a tall, thick white woman named Joe—talks about jumping out of a plane for relaxation. As she sets up the ultrasound machine, she tells me about slicing through blue sky and feeling her body become weightless. The gray room makes her red scrubs look like optimism. Read more at the New England Review:
Flash Art (Fiction)
During the night-time kitchen floor mopping, I worked with a guy who told me about his wife he didn’t want to live with anymore, which meant cops came over a lot. Here, he said, look at my head. See that scar? My wife. She hit me with a broken bottle.