Doug Cornett

I Begin to Recognize my Lost Loves on TV at 3 a.m.

On channel 232, a group of panty-hose-faced robbers shout orders in the airy lobby of a bank, waving their guns in front of them like majorettes. The hostages, overwrought and average-looking, congeal like a woodwind section into trembling formation. There—is that Emma? The teller hiding behind the counter, her finger on the button.

On 119, a computer-generated brontosaurus lumbers away from a meal of fern leaves, startled by a computer-generated allosaurus, whose human-like eyes are filled with menace. In the distant sky it’s Marisa, a massive fireball speeding toward impact.

On 22, Lila (only leaner and with kinder eyes) zaps the wrinkles from her face with a silver radiation wand. Her smile holds steady with militaristic discipline.

An old-timey cartoon on 403. A walrus in a tuxedo sits on the roof of a home, crying ocean-blue rainbows. He is calling for someone named Antonia. The town floods with his tears. The world floods. A cruise ship bobbles on the endless sea and there, on the deck, a woman rumbas. Antonia!, the walrus calls from his roof. Maylene! I call from my recliner.

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Doug Cornett is a writer and teacher living in Portland, Oregon. He enjoys books, ping pong, and watching the Cleveland Cavaliers. His work has appeared in Vestal Review, Superstition Review, Propeller Magazine, and elsewhere.