Posts tagged "imagery"

The Watch

It dangled like a bracelet from my aunt’s wrist. Shiny gold links clinked softly as she arranged her hair in the mornings, curls teased and then tamed. The watch clanked against an aerosol can of hairspray, dinged against a crystal bottle of perfume that she raised momentarily to her neck. I must have been the...

I can’t stop thinking of that New York skirt, turquoise sequins glued onto sea-colored cotton

I bought it on E. 7th St. in a shop that was only open for one day. Kerouac used to live in that building, but he was dead by then. No zippers or buttons, just strips of fabric to tie on either side of the waist. If I had been one to twirl … but...

Spoiled Love

My hands clenching my abdomen, I emerge from the bathroom and drop to my knees at the crossroads. To the right is my husband; to the left, my mother. Some instinct I thought had left me when I married kicks in and I crawl toward my mother, asleep on the spare twin in my son’s...

On My Birthday, A Wish for My Mother

Over these still-unlit Colorado foothills, I watch a single cloud build like breath, an enormous pink wing buoyed by a sun that has not yet touched the valley floor to coax ravens into air, or turn creek water to fire, or hammer gold bars from the dull blades of my backyard windmill. The cloud glows...

Becoming a Sanvicenteña: Five Stages

Stage 1: Fear The old highway to San Vicente is nothing more than a dirt road. At the height of the dry season the landscape is leached of color, the road pale as bone. We bump in and out of potholes, my American advisor filling the Peugeot with 400 years of Costa Rican history: the...

Knock, Knock

London Bridge is falling down, Falling down, falling down, London bridge is falling down, My fair lady. He’s been falling asleep a lot lately, I tell my mother over the phone, the receiver cupped under my chin; she is the one who still holds me. He keeps falling asleep on the toilet, I say as...

May Showers

Like this, the man says, smoothing a dollop of salve across his wife’s shoulder blades, over the rashes blooming there like teacup roses. With two fingers, he works the cream in circular motions down her rib cage, along the row of black stitches lining the curve of her spine.  Look here, he says, and here....

Instincts

I’m with my family on an isolated stretch of the Metolius River in Oregon. Lush vegetation clings to the bank, ferns and clover and elephant grass, willow trees and aspens, but the air hangs hot and dry. Insects burr. A woodpecker taps like a slow metronome. This is before my parents’ divorce, so we’re all...

The Potato Harvest

This is the morning that summer ends. In one hard frost our garden has become an abandoned battlefield, the last vestiges of the living lay stiff and frozen, black wilted zucchini leaves like limp umbrellas stand as pathetic monuments, tattered flags, over what was, only yesterday, a vegetable garden. Potatoes love one heavy frost. It...

Pheasant

As I heard the story she liked him but she wasn’t sure, so Gideon-like she asked “Lord, give me a sign,” and just to make sure the deity was authentically involved she said “make it a sign with a pheasant.” The next time Mr. X showed up he opened with “I almost hit a pheasant...

In Case of Emergency

In her left hand she holds the vase he made her, heavy and cool.  His initials are carved in the bottom, deep ridges made of the familiar initials in the painfully recognizable handwriting.  They were there before he proposed, and they still endure even after he dumped her.  There’s a hammer in her other hand,...

The Bluest Eye

Without warning, as if following some Biblical injunction, the boy reached in and plucked out his left eye.  He did it quickly, right hand ambushing his face.  My sister and I stepped back.  It’s rare for a glass eye to make it into your home.  And even more rare for it to pop out.  There...

Future Ex Buys Pajamas

We begin our descent somewhere over Normandy when I read in Let’s Go! France that the Eiffel Tower is this beacon for suicide. Host to twelve successful attempts every year. Katja tells me the jumpers tend not to be locals. She says no Parisian would be caught dead anywhere near the Eiffel Tower, and by the...

Suspended

The locker room walls were painted puke green and lined like a cage with metal hooks, and red mesh equipment bags hung from the hooks like meat. One of the bags was swinging, and I was swinging in it, and Drew McKinnick slapped at it and did his punching, and the janitor got me down....

Hill Street Blues

My first memory fails me.  Brown shag carpet.  I am in the living room.  My mother is watching the end of Hill Street Blues on a color television.  She lights a cigarette.  Smoke rises, spiraling toward the ceiling.  When her show is over, an orange racecar with a Confederate flag painted over the top jumps...

Tenderness

Ronnie Thomley banged on our door early one morning. He runs heavy machinery for Willie Thrift, the pond man. He showed up at our place in the pine woods of panhandle Florida driving a compact air-conditioned tractor equipped with a front-loaded rotary cutter.  Ronnie’s boss had sent him over to clear out some of the...