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the empty

The fat girl as they call her, came to school with a hypodermic needle in her backpack. It may have been to defend herself, it may have been to instigate something. She comes from a broken home and this is her second or third school. E steers clear of her, and the bullies she tangles with. It was never understood  - how things began, who threw the first insult, the first punch, the first grabbed book but the end is a chronic cycle of violence. At one point, the girl's mother got the police involved and this was seen as offensive, a step too far. The police did not resolve anything so it was all just a lot of saber rattling. That is the most common sound here. The empty threat.

Last week, there was a sobrani, sort of a cross between a parent-teacher conference and a school meeting. I was busy, so E went by herself and took notes. Five minutes in she messaged me, that I was wise not to be there. Nothing about this girl was going to be resolved.
"Boys will be boys" was all …

there is no dream (Spring)



There is no dream.

Frost is on the windows. No silk gifts. No warm sand. Nothing but work and desperate naps, faces like animals in the street. We are almost out of eggs. Time to do laundry. Time to make the bed. Time to make breakfast. Time to make lunch. Time to make dinner. Time to pay the rent. Time to pay the phone bill. Time to pass the train station that runs all the way to Paris with its curlicued entrance. Those green metal flowers are surely ice cold as they stare back at us.

Pens are breaking, staining fingers with black ink.
A clump of birds circle the trees. I watch them swooping in lopsided arcs, now here now gone then back again.

Luggage is hidden under the bed collecting dust.

There is a hot shower under the dribble of water that spurts out, smelling faintly of gasoline.

A near full bottle of maple syrup is on the middle shelf in the fridge. I keep it there, waiting for N to ask for pancakes.

The snow keeps coming, piling in clean drifts that blot out the black ones. The rest of the world is starting Spring. I imagine girls are somehow in sundresses, legs naked. I imagine men are wearing scarves and light coats walking down Madison or Fifth, staring at those girls as they flock outside for lunch filling the sidewalk with hair turned behind ears and purses held close. Young men with guitars in hard cases are passing, heads down with half a melody under their breath they are trying not to forget. I would be up in my old place on 1st Street with pennies on the windowsills, cracking them open and letting the wet air in. The radiators would be banging still, pipes dancing in the bathroom and less noisy in the bedroom. A single rose still sits in an empty bottle from some good night, crisp, dusty, ready to fall apart if I move it. The phone rings. It is a wrong number, someone breathing heavily asking if Carlos is home. I can go out for lunch across town, sitting in a quiet place at a table in the corner. My pile of pages can be there, and a good pen to mark the changes then continue the story on the last one where it is still blank, scribbling in crooked lines and then onto the back of the page and then the back of the next page putting numbers in the corners and circling them so I can decipher all of this in a week or two when I type it up sitting in the living room with the computer propped up on the radiator cover with the moist night air coming in and the scraps of trash that somehow made it to the rooftop below my window while they flip around in the wind.







Comments

liv said…
Winter lasts far too long there.

And there must be moments, days, when it seems like all Spring is is a dream.

But they tell me that the earth is still spinning. Probably can't feel it when you are sitting there in front of your computer typing out the words. Wish it would spin faster and pop you into Spring and out of your cold days.

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