Other, Sunnier Days

sunnier days

“Give me my money,” the girl says. She is identical to all the other girls with her green primary school uniform and her close cropped hair. You have probably walked past her dozens of times. On other days she may even have greeted you in the exact same way. On other days you may have even returned the greeting with a smile and shrug.

On other, sunnier days.

“What?” You stop walking and look at her. Her legs are ashy. Her feet are shoeless. A thin crust of dried snot hovers just below her nostrils. On other days you would have kept walking. On other days you would not have said anything.

On other, sunnier days.
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Many happy returns

On the day that you left,
hope was thrown out
the window and 
into the 
snow.

Of course there really wasn’t
much hope to throw;
to throw into 
the melting 
snow.

There was no peace left. 
Nothing to drag me 
from the gutter 
to the 
glow.

So I sat in the room 
with the laughing chairs
watching each frozen
moment slip 
away.

….the white ribbons and pony-tail,
the thoughts that gave me
warmth at night and 
the book with 
the clasp 
that 
shut too tight.

…the silent dinners and phony smile,
the thoughts that kept me
up at night and 
my mouth like 
a book with 
a clasp
that 
couldn’t close right…

All of the things
we had and
used to 
be.

All of the things 
that meant the 
world to 
me.

Lost. 
Forever lost
in the noise
and all the heat.

Lost like melting snow.

The Courtship of Jimbo and Shi-shi

Jimbo and Shi-shi

It is Becky’s special day, so she gets to choose what we do. She could have chosen anything. She chose the zoo. We see the turtles, a giraffe, the elephants (of course), and a mountain lion that probably hasn’t spent a single day of his life anywhere near a mountain. But it isn’t the menagerie of birds or the countless exotic fish she wants to see.

“Monkeys!” she says, her too pale face lighting up as she races to the railing.

“Honey, don’t get too close,” Her mother says trying to keep up.

There are five of them in the grotto. One walks around the perimeter, shaking branches. The others take refuge in a rapidly shrinking area of shade underneath a large climbing rock. It rained earlier but as the afternoon wears on, the temperature soars. The heat threatens to reignite the dying embers of an early morning headache. My shirt is damp from the humidity.

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