My new husband’s daughter comes into our bedroom just before dawn.
Some nights, you lie awake and think about those times, about how the things which happened to you back then can become more like stories written by strangers.
A fact about mayflies you may not know: Mayflies act like canaries in a coal mine, only for fresh and unpolluted waters.
Nicole’s doctor says she has a portion of intestine that’s twisted in over itself, a knot that needs fixing. No inkling of what he’ll find.
They are pencil drawings mostly – seven or eight of them hanging on the wall above Helen’s bed. Some are intricate, drawn with a care that must have required several sittings.
The pickup bounces with the weight of our bodies, radio bass buzzing along the rusted metal bed where we stand and shake against each other, their knees against our thighs, their hard denim crotches at our bubblegum, cheerleader backsides.
Mary eats only bread on a Monday. It’s one of those eat your way to a 6-inch-waist remedies she saw in a magazine.
Sian sits at a table in the cafeteria studying the snapshot of him. Byrne as he was. He himself is absent but the image is right here:
My father and I stood in the field behind our house, a cigarette between his lips, playing catch.
He rubbed weird oil on his hands from a tin after working on one of the many old bangers that cluttered our garage and driveway.
This was in the days before people would break a window to get a kid out of a hot car.
Like a strong wind, Frank took to knocking nests out of trees. They were always empty, and he was damned if he’d let them forewarn the day he’d find himself living alone.
We used to squat by the tub and scoop minnows from our bathwater by the dozens. Shelly liked to eat them whole, but I was strictly catch and release. She called it a cruel kindness to submit them to such treatment.
It was her fourth day off the meds and the second week of his mindfulness phase.
Mildred never cared much for them. Says they are too much like men, and you can’t always smell the poison.
Kate is not ‘imagining it’. There are small tufts of pale fluff on her neck, and no, it’s not ‘just a tissue in the washing machine’ as John suggests. There’s nothing drifting off his shirts, nothing clinging to Ella’s favourite black top, Josh’s Minecraft t-shirts. It’s more solid than tissue, just on her clothes. And only she can see it.
Ignis, the flaming wreckage, bubbling rubber, liquified cloth, her skin charred and blistering, acrid smoke, the tiny thunders of survival’s kicks
I tell you I’ve only ever shown it to a girl who I met on a tour bus in Moscow, where I was traveling with my parents. She had bad acne, and she really liked Duran Duran.
In the barren cold camp, you wear a dusty cape and top hat, wave my cane as if it were a wand and tell me your dream-stories, one after the next, your words spun and tossed like tethers into the air.