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cold nostalgia

There is a note, stuck to the front entrance of our building. The hot water will be turned off for ten days. This is something that happens every summer, although it snowed a week ago and children wander the playgrounds in ski hats these days. At night it can be 40 degrees fahrenheit.  The hot water is always turned off like this, at some point during June or July. It is a long-standing Soviet tradition, and people begrudgingly accept it here. But the baby, V does not. She wants to stand in a hot bath before she goes to sleep, to splash and pour water all around her, and N. She wants to stand and wiggle her tiny hands under the spout, as she grows pink and clean, as she howls and shouts for us to see what new trick she has improvised. There is no explanation for her, why the hot water is off today, and will be tomorrow. She is angry, furious even.

I used to buy the story that this offered a chance for the water department to fix pipes, to take care of routine maintenance. Hot water c…

If you could read my mind love

I've got Johnny Cash playing on a Monday morning. The sun is banging into the quiet side streets. The scent of old lilacs is heavy in the breeze. There is a fly buzzing around on its back, dying on the windowsill behind dirty glass and fingerprints.

If you could read my mind love
What a tale my thoughts would tell
Just like an old time movie
'Bout a ghost from a wishing well
In a castle dark or a fortress strong
With chains upon my feet
You know that ghost is me.

I'm still working through the same dilemmas, gnawing the same bones. The summer sun has come and I don't feel it sometimes, still convinced it is winter and I'm just walking wounded. Pinch me, I think.

Just like a paperback novel
The kind that drugstores sell
When you reach the part where the heartache comes
The hero would be you
Heroes often fail.

We made a pineapple upside-down cake for your birthday, but four days late. You slicing butter into a giant bowl, mashing it with the sugar. Me cooking sour cherries, you stealing a few. Checking our masterpiece in the oven as it quickly grew brown, tall and puffy. The kitchen began to smell exotic, and we sat satisfied and quiet as the sun went down so incredibly slow - ten at night and it looks like five. And we watch old movies, curled up on the couch as the cat marches around fighting more of those flies. I feel like a human again, because of you. I can jump into the shower and surprise you. We can brush our teeth together, making faces in the mirror. You constantly forget things at my place, like your watch or a jacket or a book.

Late at night, birds sing outside the window. No chirping or tweeting, these are long slow sounds that jungle birds make. You turn in the covers, your chin on my shoulder. I lay awake, studying your face, the pucker of your lips, the measured pulse of your breathing, the shifting eyelashes. I brush your hair from your face, and hold your cheeks in my hands. This is how you save me.


Victoria said…
That warmed me up more than this cup of coffee I'm sipping on!
Annie said…
Ah, yes....last week was hard, and one of the hardest things was missing the installment of my favorite blog. "exotic" and with that word, I can smell and taste that cake.....

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