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molecules and potholes

There is a rift between daily life, and the news that trickles across. In our little bubble, this quiet neighborhood, the price of a bouquet of roses does not change. The eggs are painted in shit and feathers, but taste the same. The little fresh market works on the weekends again, now that the weather is not terrible. Here, they sell overpriced red onions, stalks of broccoli, maybe some green basil if we are lucky.  The potholes sit  half-full with murky water. New buildings grow slowly as construction workers stare into the horizon on cigarette breaks. None of this changes, not a molecule.

But the rest of world is upside-down. Wild laws are passed. Prime ministers become dictators. Bombs are dropped here and there, like rainbow sprinkles on a doughnut - the more the better. Great decisions are made over dessert now, fueled by whim.

Being an expat means more than living far from home. There are many distances to bridge each day, and in times like this I want to throw my hands wild i…

a clear midnight


The sun rises by four just as we have found our way to becoming a slack pair of spoons. I can see the sky through my closed eyelids, pressing past the curtains and the balcony. The trucks are rumbling along the river. Teenagers are still out in mufflerless cars screaming and careening down the highway with throaty approaches that drift off, leaving us back to our pillows.

N turns, dragging my arm across her shoulder. The bed jiggles a bit, like the soft wet yolk in the center of a sunny side up egg.

The sheets are twisted around our hips. N's breathing is steady, calm. I smell the burnt toast smell of diesel exhaust. I hear the bark of the neighbor's tiny dogs. 

I stare at the ceiling.

I can remember a million things at this hour. I can walk lucid through history in this half-light. 

The tv is on, a miniature black and white screen in beige plastic. It sits in the corner of the room. Outside, I can see the treetops, Garfield place, a seltzer man working his way down the block. Charlie Chan is on, solving mysteries in thirty minutes or less. I sit on the bare wood floor, legs crossed.
"Admitting failure like drinking bitter tea." He says.
I really want an ice cream.



I see E, but grown up now. She is tall, her hair long and wild. Laughing, taking photographs of a friend, she moves with a sort of grace I could never predict. The sun is low in the sky. We are by the ocean. I feel my toes in the sand but will not look down. If I do, this will all disappear. I stare at her, at her round cheeks, her giant eyes. This is my child. This is what she will look like someday. Her fingers are long, covered with cheap rings, a clump of necklaces on her neck. The light haired gypsy. 

I squeeze my eyes closed. It is six now, but looks like eleven.

The smell of oranges and lemongrass wash over me. I see nothing, just sense a warmth, maybe of smooth wood around me, heavy, oiled, massive. There are candles here I think. I hear the crackle of a fire. I am suddenly hungry for sour apples.



Sleep comes. N throws one of her legs across me, pressing against my side. I turn my face into the pillows. I try to match her breathing, to find her secret recipe. I rest my palm on the two dimples at the base of her spine. 

The bottom of her back is like a tiny ocean. 

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