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every other man

The light outside the main entrance to our building has gone out again. The heavy metal door swings wide as I pull a hat down over my ears. In the darkness there are maybe twenty teenagers standing still. My boot scrapes across the ground, slowing down. Their hands in pockets, shoulders hunched, I look for a space to pass between them. A voice appears, saying hello in English, with an obvious accent. I am all instinct, sayingpivyet as I pass, not looking back, wondering who said this. There was a boy that was an extra in Blackbetty that lives in our building, but he is too young, too short for it to have been him.

I look back, navigating the puddles in the street. It does not make any sense.

N is with V, making their way home. I meet them, pulling V into my arms as she chatters about her day, about dry leaves and princesses, about her grandmother's apartment and what she ate there. We are going back home, and I try to explain the odd collection that stands outside. As we pass th…

from the moon to the earth (after the storm)


There is the eye of the storm, and the calm before it.

There is the aftermath, when overturned chairs and downed trees block the roads. We emerge, in yellow raincoats and tall boots. We wonder if the stores are open again. There is money in our pocket for something savory, then maybe something sweet.

The wet earth smells of bee pollen and dead leaves. This time is rarely noted. It is not a moment to pick up the pen and find a scrap of paper. It is a time to take a long walk, to gaze into the distance and imagine great things there.

It is a time to stay up late.


E is growing. There is a sadness to her, a defeated expression is there when she thinks no one is looking, when I spy her on the playground alone before I take her from school. 

She paints on a smile. She makes jokes. She asks me what is for dinner. 


Sometimes it feels like we are the same person.

She knows joy. She knows love. 

She knows what sacrifice is, and how to crack an egg. 


This morning she woke up as I tiptoed into the room, my first coffee balanced in one hand. Her eyes adjusted to the bright room, a sky completely white as snow coughed from the clouds. We could not see as far as the next building.

She sighs, pulling stuffed animals and warm blankets to her chin.

"Pop." She says.
"Yeah?" I say.
"I had a dream." She continues.
A catalogue of nightmares unfolds in my imagination. A new page waits to record the newest one.
"It was a good dream." She says. "I was on the moon, and you were on the earth and I was jumping from the planets and you were catching me."
"Woho!" I say.
She giggles.
I stand, pretending she is falling from the sky and I run around the living room imagining how I catch her.





Comments

liv said…
Ahhhh, here's to good dreams, papas who can catch and your beautiful rununculus, they are gorgeous, just like your girls.

That is so encouraging that you are in her subconscious as the one who keeps her from falling. Her safety net, her hero.

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