Posts tagged "extended_metaphor"
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,...

Into The Fable

“Outdoors Day”: the annual Spring afternoon away from the stuffy classrooms and onto the track and ball fields, dreaded by nearly all underclassmen save for the dozen or so who savored a May ritual of barely disguised competition. We ran, we threw, we jumped. We “got some exercise,” the athletically challenged of us huffing and...
There Are Distances Between Us

There Are Distances Between Us

The interstate highway system in the United States is the largest and most sophisticated in the world. It is named for President Dwight D. Eisenhower. There are two points and between them, a distance between you and me. These two points are connected in ways we will never fully understand but they are connected. You are there...

Variations on a Home Depot Paint Sample

Desert Sunrise, 230B-4 To mix Desert Sunrise 230B-4, combine equal parts vodka, orange juice, pineapple juice, and troposphere; add grenadine syrup to taste. Throw in blender with ice cubes and a handful of red dirt. Blend. Next drive westward all night along I-80 until you reach Wyoming, and, when you see in your rearview the...

Please Do Not Shoot the Pianist

The U-Haul guy asked my brother for a “destination address.” My brother, confused, arched an eyebrow and cocked his head. “You know,” the U-Haul guy said. “Where you’re moving to.” “Oh, I’m not moving anywhere,” my brother said, finally understanding the question. “My ex-wife is.” The U-Haul guy chuckled and nodded like he’d heard that...

Go

We’re sitting on our bikes and staring down the small alleyway made by fenced-in yards backed up to one another, and one of the kids in our groups says, “Go,” and like a pack of dogs we charge the space, pedaling hard and gnashing our teeth. Ahead the path narrows, and what started out as...

Choir

Courtney McDonell’s voice struck you; it slammed you right in the chest, and stayed there, in notes never pure or clear but throaty and rough and somehow resonant. That year I saw Mrs. Pritchard plead with her to use her diaphragm, said if she kept singing like that she was going to ruin her vocal...

Transubstantiate

They kept them on their dressers, hidden beneath the edge of a doily or in a trinket box.  Aunt Leona’s was the first I saw, before bed one weekend when I was spending the night.  We were listening to old hymns on AM radio, what a friend we have in Jesus and the torments of...

The Blind Prophets of Easter Island

Jacques Cousteau and his son, Philippe, circle the thirty-foot stone Moai heads of Easter Island. I sit on the matted carpet of my Oakland apartment. He squints and purses his lips and nods towards each elongated face in some ritual of recognition he usually reserves for communing with aquatic life. I bounce somebody else’s baby...

Virga

I have looked for you since 1982. It rained the day before. The curbs filled with dirty, driven-through water, and overnight the water filled up with tiny tadpoles. The next day, I made a pole from a stick and tied a bit of string to it. I knelt beside the puddle in my Gloria Vanderbilt...

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...

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...

Vitamin M

In the Navy, Vitamin M is the cure for all ailments.  Ship medics prescribe extra-strength Motrin, thousands of milligrams, twice, three times the recommended dosage to treat headaches, hangovers, back pain, stiff necks, fever, carpal tunnel, plantar fasciitis, even acne.  My husband, in his nine years of military service, has adapted easily to the ibuprofen...
The Sloth

The Sloth

There is a nothingness of temperature, a point on the body’s mercury where our blood feels neither hot nor cold. I remember a morning swim on the black sand eastern coast of Costa Rica four months after my twenty-two-year-old fiancé was killed in a car accident. Walking into the water, disembodied by grief, I felt...

Blue Shirt

I find it lying on the bed in the purple room – a deep blue shirt with long, soft sleeves. It belongs to my son, the older or the younger, I won’t tell. But since the purple is the guest room, and we’ve no guests today, today the purple room is mine. The shirt reminds...

What My Supermarket Means to Me

Here I must avow with all truthfulness: Stop & Shop is the commercial correlative of the Homeric Sirens, the slick Dorian Gray of The New World Order, the buxom Playboy bunny of groceries. Every Stop & Shop opened on the Main Street of every Eastern seaboard suburb takes us one step closer to perpetual co-dependence,...