lost and found

For some, life is read on palms---delicate lines of days passed, and those of a promised future.
The battles and loss of this man’s life is full-body armor. Prior to speaking, this is understood. If you care to notice.

His eyes scan and study everyone in the barroom. Brief facial expressions denote his interpretation. Dialogue is earned.

My eyes catch his unbreakable concentration. With a tilted stare, he searches me for understanding. Once satisfied, he continues.

"After my wife’s death, I was met with this group…well, my family---MY KIDS. I was lost."



The sun is settling into morning while Mindy begins swimming. She swims to clear the residue of the previous night’s dreams. She does so each morning. Her worries and wants disperse into the ocean; fluttering away until distance is her savior. She relies on this clearing.

So far this plan has accomplished a decade's worth of success.

Today is different.

Today, she emerges from the ocean with mind and body as energized as the raucous waves that tousle her hair and kiss her tingling pores.

Today, Routine is not strong enough to distract Mindy.

Today, Martha arrives.


Graph 5: The Parting

The beast soared overhead, cawing.

He lifted the rifle, aimed, and fired. It was a complete miss. Flying off, the crow cawed twice more. A reproach? Or was it mockery?

Higgy sighed. His eyesight had worsened; his body overall was deteriorating. He couldn't bear to look at his reflection in the mirror anymore. When had he gotten so old?

The walk home was only a couple of miles. He looked out over the tall grasses and narrow dirt road. Clouds had gathered, and he was thankful for the reprieve from the sun's glare. He wondered if Martha had left for the coast yet, and if she would ever return.

Her announcement had been a surprise.

"I'm going to San Diego," she told him Sunday morning last week.

"When?" he asked, putting down his coffee mug.

"Two weeks from today."

"You're going to see Mindy?"

"Yes," she said.

Her response was firm. She did not seem to want to answer more questions. He looked back at the newspaper he had been reading. She pushed her chair back from the table noisily and went into the kitchen.

The last time she had announced something was when she had the miscarriage.

"I lost the baby," was all she said. He hugged her, and she seemed to go limp in his arms. She never cried, though - something he never understood.

He couldn't help but think that maybe his day had come. She would leave him the way that Bill left Connie, or the way his own mother left his father two years before his death.

He heard the crow again, cawing from a near distance. He lifted his gun, and fired.


The Illusion is Broken

He and his sister didn't speak much to each other as they drove in her car to his childhood home. The blinking red light had brought him this far, and the effort - he hoped - would be enough to set him free again. Free? His girlfriend would laugh at him. He could just hear her voice as she said it.

Living in Nantucket must have been a reeeaaallly hard life, I'm sure!

He could imagine the roll of her eyes, the way she snorted through her nose in disapproval. He hated loving her.

They continued the drive in silence. Then, suddenly, his sister sighed.

"Oh no, she's gone," she said sarcastically. "Good riddance!"

"But I thought you adored Pamela," Trevor said, eyes wide.

"Ugh. That bitch," she said. "Good riddance."

Trevor couldn't believe what he was hearing. Neither could he respond. So he stayed quiet and listened as Sarah began to tell the story.


He knew as soon as his answering machine greeted his entrance with a blinking red glow in the darkness of his studio apartment.

Gut feeling.

Whatever its name, it was now partnered with anticipation---each tugging at either side of his mind---begging for the response of audible verification.

Nothing good came of a message on his house phone. Emergency use only. He had warned everyone. He pressed the button without hesitation's pause. The light stopped flashing and glowed a constant red warning as the message sounded.

"It's me. Your mom...She, ugh. She's left. She's really left me."

He ravaged the torturous beauty of rewind.


Trevor had taken to saying that nature bored him. This wasn’t entirely true—he appreciated Nantucket sunsets and fresh-picked tomatoes and the mountain streams whence came cans of the coldest, purest beer and so forth--but it was a fair summary of a pale, petless man who slept indoors when possible, which was nearly every night.

Still, he was shocked to turn onto his boyhood street and see that the boughs of the trees on opposite sides of the pavement--oaks, say, or elms--overlapped thirty feet in the air, creating a canopy of gaudy-green leaves that led to the driveway from which he could see a small rabbit eating his mom’s neighbors’ garden.


Her body was leaden as she stood facing the window. It wasn't him. She was sure of it. She opened her mouth, but nothing came out. She could not look away from the silhouette of him, not him, that man in the window.

She gasped for each breath. Her face warmed, then burned before going numb. The sounds of nighttime had all but disappeared. Thump-da-thump-da-thump-da-thump! Her heart pounded anxiously.

The sound of the pounding blared in her ears as she ran towards the house. She felt almost ethereal in movement. Fine lines of sweat ran down her face, armpits, down both legs and arms. The water drained out of her in a stream.

As she ran, the house started to slip backwards, away from her. She reached out her arms and started screaming. She could no longer see the man in the window.

She stopped running. Standing there, she watched as the house retreated further and futher away, until it finally disappeared.