Issue 42.2, Winter/Spring 2022


Photo of thermometer beside plant

With temperatures high, the numbers in the news hovered low and I went to my sister’s for the weekend, the mirage of again pulling me there like a riptide. The last time I saw my brother and sisters was when the temperatures hovered low and before the numbers proved their infinity. It took a moment for my eyes to adjust: the blue bar of the pool within the green rectangle of the backyard, the same oaks at the property edge, the onslaught of such calm. So close to the Atlantic, a northerly breeze whispered the wet and salt into our patch of suburbia. And we lounged by the pool, the afternoon inflated with our laughter lubricated with the icy fizz of hard seltzer, the sizzle of patties in their sauna of garlic plumes, and the thudding footsteps of my niece, now four, as she chased me with a dead cicada in her tiny hand. I retreated onto a float, breathless, immersing limbs in the lapping cool. And when Mariah lamented “Heartbreaker,” the base popping in the air like so many emoticons of threes and acute angles, the moment dilated. And I lay drifting, half-lidding the sun that came through those leaves.

This nook we hollowed
out of a stalking timeline
for shade and to breathe.