curve over the top of a green glass vase at the center of the oak table. I’ve cut the flowers too long so after four days they look translucent and gorgeously weary, like dancers in costume after a rehearsal. The sound of the occasional car drifts through the open windows. Further off, someone is moving their lawn. In the late summer light I sit down with a notebook and try to write out lists of tasks I’ve been thinking about for weeks. All the cleaning I have to do, the new job I need to find, the friends I should try to get back in touch with, the friends I’ve lost for good. I do my best to will my hand into writing out the new healthy diet I will follow and the contingency plans I should make, just in case things don’t go the way the doctors hope. Then there are the other lists, the ones that will include all the trips I’ll take if I keep living and the love I’ll find though I haven’t found it yet and the novels I’ll finish writing and the elaborate desserts I’ll actually bake and the little black bikini I’ll finally buy. It seems strange that it’s summer, or maybe it seems strange that it’s summer and I’m still there, in my house, at my table, sitting before an overfilled vase as cars full of people rush to wherever people rush to. In December I lay in a wilted body at the center of a maze of tubes. To raise an arm or a leg took effort. To breathe took effort. On Christmas Eve I pushed myself out of bed, clinging to my IV pole as I maneuvered myself toward a row of regulation chairs at the end of the hospital floor. Through the plate glass windows, far below, a Christmas tree shone in darkness, its needles clothed in a universe of LED lights. I’d like to say I imagined all the kids in their beds trying to fall asleep and all their parents assembling bikes incorrectly and all the other kids in other countries starving inside their skins and the terrible, unpredictable unfairness of the world. I’d like to tell you I wondered about God. But the truth is I wasn’t thinking about anything—just like I’m not thinking about anything as I sit here at my kitchen table six months later. The sunlight falls across the floor in wide squares. The ballerina daisies spill over the top of the vase. The wind streams through the windows and ruffles their ghostly skirts.
Lori Lamothe is the author of three books of poetry, most recently Kirlian Effect (FutureCycle, 2017). Her work has appeared in Blackbird, The Journal, The Literary Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, Verse Daily and elsewhere.
FLASH GLASS: A MONTHLY PUBLICATION OF FLASH FICTION, PROSE POETRY, & MICRO ESSAYS
Cover Image: "Verano"