Our house has no windows. On winter mornings, I leave in downpours and darkness at six, then return in the brooding grey of twilight. Sometimes your car is here and sometimes it’s not. On the evenings when you’re around we eat supper in silence, chewing food without flavour. I’m never hungry any more, either. We scrape more food into the dustbin than either of us eat. You take to the sofa behind the barrier of your phone, tapping out messages to whoever. I take the armchair and read books I’ve read before.
Wipe off my chin. Please. There is a handkerchief in my pocket. That’s the way I was raised. Get it out and wipe the drool off. Now. And look at me when you talk to me, the way you used to, when we were first married. I’m still here, you know, I’m still here. The older the violin, the sweeter the music. My mother fiddled. I remember the feel of her gloved hand in mine one afternoon, walking me down Market Street, when she stopped and gasped, There’s your daddy. I looked across the street at the man watching us, and he didn’t seem at all a father to me. Only another guy on the street. I squeezed my mother’s hand and we walked quickly in the other direction. I did not look back. I was eight then. I cannot remember the sound of my mother’s voice, or when she passed, but I know that she is gone.
His black containment suit stood out stark against the all-encompassing white and gray of the forest about him. Specks of white swirled through the chilly air, both whipping and wafting against the thick outer padding of the Level A gear; still, he could feel the cold seeping through the protective layers and across his skin. He shivered as he huffed his way through shin-thick drifts of white, his thick boots awkward to trek in, his breather working overtime in the closed hood about his head, and his gloved hands grasping his rifle with determination.
The mountains were sunlit, like glory loose of heaven, dark as old souls at their valley roots, in the clutch of earth trembling from a sky-high battle with its last aerial shot not yet fired, its last echo of death riding the sweep of air, when the screeching, not identified, began on high. The sounds of death had breath to spare, and the U.S Air Force’s F86 Sabre pursuit fighter plane from the 4th Fighter Interceptor Wing, out of Suwon Air Base or Kimpo Air Base, both in South Korea, tumbled from the sky, the roar, the screech, the scream of air being sliced nearly by its atoms or other miniscule thinness not measureable by any of the troops facing each other on the ground.
Today, quicksilver March clouds hug Torqwamni Hill in a multilayered embrace composed of soft kisses and the murmured promise of a twisted-shank thrust below the sternum and into the heart. Both may be interpreted as acts of affection. And it is Tennyson who claims that spring is when young men think of love; yet nothing the Lord says expands well on what the young ladies make of the situation. Perhaps this is because it is less poetic, and concerns what passes from mothers to daughters on the subjects of cows and the price of milk.
Every girl loves a showman reckoned Big Micky Taverne.
Stand behind their car as the waltzer takes a group of them up and down. Watch as they huddle up, heads rested on shoulders, screaming in unison. One if not all will be giving you the glad eye, willing you on. Come on they’re saying, give us a spin. So, you do and they scream so loud it would burst your eardrums if they weren’t already bust from the music.
In my father’s building, there was a daily ritual. The old ladies from the building would gather in the lobby and wait for the mailman, saying things like, “I hope he doesn’t come as late as he did yesterday,” or “Remember that Thursday in October when he didn’t come at all?”