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Fires smoke the air, the scent a soft comfort from an iron wood stove that calls across the snowy hillside, blazing inside with logs you and Dad needed a whole day to split and stack. You exhale visible breath, hoping for it to turn to icicles and plink to the ground, like in Saturday morning [...]

Falling Leaves

“I want this one for my obituary,” she turns a wallet-sized portrait toward you. You swallow splinters; don’t want to think about a world without her. Matriarch. Role model. Mother you never had. Propped on one elbow, sun through sheers halos her grey curls. She rakes stiff fingers through photographs scattered on the bed like [...]

The Unbearable Here

Mother, here’s what I need you to know: this is going to hurt. This is going to slip under your nail, black and blue its pink. You’ll breathe this in while you sleep, a knot, edgy and fibrous, that leaves hair-thin strips of me in your soup or your peanut butter. The part of the throat only reachable by a gag. You think I never was.

Breathe, Hold

It was soon after they’d met. They hadn’t yet married, and Laura came to a Sunday match, sitting on the bleachers all afternoon at the outdoor pool. She’d waited outside the dressing rooms and he’d come out with wet hair, drops running down his neck, endorphins still pulsing from the win.

Pavlov Dawning

You inhale slowly, counting to 8 as the steady chill flows into your mouth, down your throat and spreads through you, balancing the burning in your oxygen starved lungs. With your eyes closed, you pause a beat and with an exhale you say, “It’s all right Daniel. Everything is alright.” The sound his name makes [...]