Posts tagged "extended_metaphor"
Xenia

Xenia

They brought food on Tuesdays because my mother’s chemotherapy happened on Mondays. Later, when my mother was regularly hospitalized, they rang the bell on Thursdays too. Their hands balanced hot lasagna, cold vegetables, yeasty bread that made bright steam in the dark winter air. They brought pork roast, beef roast, squash, potatoes. They brought their...
The Lunch Lady and Her Three-Headed Dogs

The Lunch Lady and Her Three-Headed Dogs

I raise my arm to write on the chalkboard, and the skin draped over bone and muscle swings in contrapuntal melody. I am ashamed to be caught in the act of living in skin. I hope my students are not hypnotized by the distracting motion. I hope no one sees this hammock of flesh and...
Backstitch

Backstitch

On the bus from LaGuardia Airport to Grand Central Station I’m thinking about the night, thirty years ago, with the boy who lived in Hell’s Kitchen. On 57th Street, in an apartment on the 57th floor, with a view of the Empire State Building. He was Cuban, this boy, with bright blue eyes, and his...
You Will Find Me in the Starred Sky

You Will Find Me in the Starred Sky

One day you will hear a physicist say we are all made from the bodies of dead stars, and it will feel as if you’ve known it all along. You’ve long suspected there are particles in space bigger than you were at age three, when Ray went after you with his pants around his ankles...
Fifteen-Year Forecast

Fifteen-Year Forecast

Come in. The water will hold you. —Lidia Yuknavitch Water has made its way into every house. It has dripped and trickled and poured in. Down chimneys, through roofs and ceilings. Up from below the ground. And, now, we wait. Tomorrow, settlement on another house, our fourth one. A white-washed brick cottage in the woods....
Success and Prosperity

Success and Prosperity

A car hit our dog Prosperity not too long ago. The vet took out the staples in his body recently, and it looks like Prosperity has his health back. Prosperity’s big brother is Success. No one remembers when we started to call Success Success, as my grandma named him. (Grandma’s last name is Zheng, same...
The Essay Determines How it will Begin

The Essay Determines How it will Begin

The essay is a transgression. The night you move back in with your ex-husband, you dream you are in bed with your mother. The essay reveals the world we grew up in. Mother goes on a date with the neighbor six days after Daddy’s death. Then stands in the hallway, her naked breasts cupped in...
Seven Women Hold a Man’s Brain in Their Hands

Seven Women Hold a Man’s Brain in Their Hands

In poetry class a student writes: “The heart is symmetrical.” “No it isn’t,” I say, too harshly.  I know what she means, a few days past Valentine’s, but I’m trying to demonstrate how to be more careful with one’s words, or perhaps how to be more careful with one’s heart.  I vow to set her...
Cake

Cake

At the edge of the counter, on a plate and wrapped in plastic, was a single wedge of cake. Not just chocolate cake, but German chocolate, layers of sodden coconut and crushed nuts bound by nectar as sweet, I imagined, as the honey drop I once sucked from a trumpet-shaped petal of a columbine. I...

Lag Time

It doesn’t thunderstorm in California. Not like those from my memory of home. I listen for them at night when the sky half-promises, but it rarely delivers the noise I need. This I know: If you count the time it takes between the flash of a Kansas lightning bolt and the crack before the roll...
Overpass Into Fog

Overpass Into Fog

One winter morning after dropping my daughter at daycare, I took the 180 overpass arching into thick fog and, though I knew it well, I couldn’t in that moment be sure where the road actually ended. Suspended between past and future, I disappeared into language and place, weather and love, and I wondered how close...
Ten Years Ago

Ten Years Ago

Senior year. A fundamentalist Baptist high school. One of those times, frequent and interminable, when the teachers ran out of lesson plans and gave us time to talk. I was reading a novel because I’d run out of homework. The classroom chatter softened for a moment, and I heard a nasal twang, four plastic chairs...
Valentine

Valentine

It’s the middle of winter, but tonight I am in summer’s warm arms, Boston lettuce torn in half before me for a salad. You’re at the stove, stirring Indonesian sweet potato peanut soup. I’m at the sink, staring down into pale green whorls. “The heart’s the best part,” my mother says, a thousand Junes ago....
Balancing Act

Balancing Act

A man in my neighborhood stacks rocks in his front yard. From a distance, the cairns remind me of a small throng of people. Some wear long coats or dresses: clerics in cassocks. Some stand on two, wide and chunky legs. One stack sports a wide-brimmed, flat-topped rock, sat at a jaunty angle. The first...
Consider the Houses

Consider the Houses

The hall and the door and shelves full of the first names of things. Block. Card. Soft. Red. Much later on. A house in the country with a backroom full of antique shoes. Her friend collected them. Button shoes and laces and patent leather, ancient and dull-cracked. White wedding shoes with loose strings of beads,...
The Bedroom that was a Beekeeper’s House

The Bedroom that was a Beekeeper’s House

Jim was given custody of the bees in his divorce. Not knowing where to go with them when he moved out, he house-sat for a woman in her seventies who needed someone to look after her hives while she summered in Canada. He integrated his bees with hers in the backyard, fed them sugar water,...
An Unusual Thing

An Unusual Thing

When the roommate called, telling me he’d found an unusual thing, I was in Pittsburgh, buying pumpkins with my boyfriend. He described, to me, the bitter melon: a vegetable, green and wrinkly, like a rotted-through cucumber—its marrow filled with bright red seeds. The roommate speaks six languages and enjoys spending Saturday afternoons with a cup...

In Orbit

July 20, 1969: I’m running in a wide circle at the far end of the cul-de-sac, around and around until I settle in the dust under a thorny bush, but then my name floats into the game, calling me back as dusk descends on the neighborhood. Other names unfurl like ribbons, doors opening and closing—Bobby,...