Now & Why Horses Rock

After yesterday’s blog, I was thinking about writing and how it felt like I just wanted to bite the world and chew it and swallow it like really good bread with a crisp out the outside and soft sweetness on the inside. I think maybe my last blog was a lot more satisfying for me to write than anyone to read but I’m not ashamed of it and I’m not going to downplay it. Let me narrate your dreams. And then think about femininity and meaning and subjectivity and make your brain dance new steps.

Here’s a description of now.

Mike is carrying his laundry down the road. I’m playing Acoustic Soul out my window. Collage wood and wildflowers and gold-tipped grasses and a ponies playing and trucks and mountains and clouds. Layer them in a thick portrait of fresh air and sweet pine smells and cut out a shape of home.

My phone buzzes and I know looked at it far too much today. It interrupts me but I forgive it because on the other end are the only ones who will read this anyways. You were here.

Why Horses Rock:

When I was in 3th grade:

Horses rock because they chose to leave their pretty fields to play with me! And they take care of me when I ride them and would never do anything to hurt me. Horses work really hard even when you didn’t even ask them to. Horses are so pretty with manes that are long like brown grass and shining hoofs that look like they have nail polish. I love horses because horses love me.

When I was in 9th grade:

Horses rock because they teach you about disappointment. They make you fall and then you get to get on them again. They take you to beautiful places and let your hair fly and you get to smile at sunsets all alone and breathing. Horses give you time in the woods with your mom to talk about things you wouldn’t have otherwise. Horses are who you can talk to when boys don’t like you and probably never will.


Horses rock because they taught me to take the blame. Because they broke my heart. They taught me to stop trusting and personifying. They taught me to stop needing best friends and started appreciating patient athletes. I learned that they never trotted to me for me, but for the grain or the itch or the fun of it. They taught me that the “flight” instinct can shape great things. They taught me to run them fast because then they might forget that they are being dominated. They earned my respect. They bought into a delusion that allowed them to survive.

Horses rock because they made me look for a poetry that isn’t in Hollywood. They rock because they are strength and power and versatility and finesse. They rock because we can be selfish together. Because when their eyes twinkle, I can stop looking for humanity and start seeing them as independent creations that aren’t me but have resigned themselves to running by my side.

The Fullness of Forever

I wrote this on a plane mixed in with doodles and drawings and the guy next to me looking over and being confused. 

Man is an animal suspended in webs of significance he himself has spun.

– Clifford Geertz

And after everything we looked for whatever was left and found nothing. So we looked at each other and disentangled our identities from our histories and reunited reality like the kids dreamed of in tree houses when red wagons crashed down driveways. And he threw his hair behind his shoulder and forgot where the conversation began and I reminded him that he’d never want to know and we let everything stop or almost stop because if it really stopped the world would be invisible and we’d all be subatomic particles or whatever is less that that so we let the world keep going but slowly because I like the delusion of Me In Motion.

And then we decided to put the sun back in the sky and the moon in the stars because obviously the stars didn’t go anywhere. And around my fingers I spun just enough time to live well and whatever was left I gave to him. And the scraps of edges and fringes and pulls of thread I snipped off neatly and gave to the Spiders and they were happy to be back. But we of course didn’t call them Spiders because words were gone too so Spiders weren’t named until someone got scared of them later but we promised we wouldn’t talk about that. And to the spiders we gave wild grass of the gentlest sort to hang their threads of time. And then we made dew drops, pulling light out of the air with spaghetti strainers and powdering it on every thread on every strand of wild glass. And he cracked his knuckles in the sound of bells and pushed his hair out of his face. And I wanted to kiss him but I had work to do and this world wasn’t going to start with “So I met this guy…” because any life decision after that loses credibility. No, I am alpha and omega, revolving my own nucleus. I am electric.

And so I turned up the orange in the sun and sunk it in the sky and made rivers run crashing down mountains. Faster and faster I ran them and grander and I carved canyons and cliffs and pebbles and boulders and marshes and prairies and spun the world out like a lettuce spinner until everything was clean and fresh and beautifully broken. And after all had been spun out, I put the rivers in the clouds and sent clouds on their way.

And he wrote sin because how does good exist without sin? Right?

And I froze some places into whitening and burned some places into yellowing just as I remembered from the magazines on our coffee tables. And I filled the ocean with fresh water and loved everything.

And he wrote pain because how does health exist without pain? Right?

And I looked at my oceans and remembered the whales so I asked the spiders to weave me a whale and they did and it had fins and everything so I put it in an ocean. I knew it was lonely because it was born after pain so I asked the spiders to build it a lover. But the lover was made after sin so the lover was jealous and the lover was angry and the lover attacked and the spiders took out its teeth and forced it to smile.

And he wrote sadness, because without sadness, how can one know joy?

And the whales understood and the whales tried to give back their threads of time and slowly they unraveled.

And he brushed his hair and looked down on the world and he smiled and I wanted no more to kiss him. And I stole his diary and crossed out Sin and wrote Adversity and crossed out Pain and wrote Grit and crossed out Sadness and wrote ignorance. And then I thought of Hallmark greeting cards and thought maybe I was being naive but realized that the words didn’t exist anymore and naive didn’t make sense. And I got back to work and I salted the oceans and the unraveling whales began to float and I created fowl to rest on their backs with soft feet and resting wings. And I created the wind to lift them up and in the wind I scattered seeds of purple trees and white flowers and yellow lilies because they were perfect already and cacti who didn’t know how beautiful their bloom would someday be.

And he opened his diary and read my words and together we changed them to sounds that this language hasn’t tasted yet. And as we talked I let my eyes and his eyes create one focus and there was no distance because we’re all atomic particles anyways and everything is invisible and maybe also feelings.

And he said “let’s make this better” and I laughed because it meant nothing in this reality we created together and I got back to work.

I took a breath and perfumed the air and gave tiny wings to a tiny Spider and it knitted itself a sweater and unraveled its legs and it chose for itself a buzz that reminded me of summers on Cape Cod. So I fixed the buzz and turned it into a hum and it reminded me of nothing.

And I ran a river over a rock and made myself a chair and grew a tree into my desk and I tried to remember what else God made at his workshop and whether Noah would have saved the whales. And I had the Spiders knit me a soft and long and lined piece of paper. And I made a lamb so that I could name my paper Lamb-Colored Paper and it would mean something. And I made a squid and made Squid Ink in my pen and I sat and I drew a picture. Unfortunately, I was never good at drawing and my creatures were ugly. Fortunately, that meant nothing and I made them anyways. And he watched from the sky and laughed and forgot and about sin and pain and sadness and I began to write the definition of love without a definition of hate.

My Children:

I apologize if my words translate badly to this language. I apologize for the meanings they carry that have placed you into strings of spider. I apologize for it all.

As I created worlds, he gently and quietly and earnestly wrote Fear. And fear wrote hell. And hell housed sin, pain, and sadness. And Fear birthed hate and suspicion and webs of creation and time were separated. And he created “Other.” And our eyes touched no more and time ran too quickly, My Children.

My Children, look around you with the eyes I drew you and taste dew drops and drink rivers that carve canyons. Fear is not in the river and there you must play. Fear is not in the sky and there you must jump. I will float you to the stars in symphonies of blue if you pull your hair over your eyes.

You were created in nothingness, after everything was gone.

I did not write truth because truth means nothing. I wrote thought to guide my world to you. It is yours entirely and if not for Fear you would take ownership of your mind’s eye.

My Children, take caution but do not have Fear. My Children, do not reach through the ears of your young and make worlds for them for fear of their miscreation. Those who try will be frozen, and I will send my lambs to walk through you, and I will send my Spiders to patch you back up, and I will send you back in motion, as you will only then know yourself.

My Children:

He is gone. We shouldn’t have moved in together anyways. I’m glad it is over and his hair is now cut and his beard now holds yesterday’s dinner.

I am mine in the absolute and neither peace nor war will change that. My Children, this is your first day of school.

Unlearn everything. Close your eyes before you reopen them. Don’t use the word “truth.” Don’t let him write you Fear.

I did not define greatness for you, My Children. Define it yourself and let it define you. Let your breath perfume your life. Create whale lovers and Spider seamstresses and carry fowl on your wings. Wrap time around yourself, let it keep you warm and let it drive you on and let it carry the sweetest tastes of dew. Grow out your fingernails so you can scratch hard at the surface of things, but also buy a shovel. Set fire to everything, because when time stands still fire will change you. Scream new sounds and dance new dances to new music.

The World Before was glory and I remembered what I could. But it means nothing now and your time webs are stronger because of it. Snip at your edges and prune your gardens of yellow lilies that were born perfect.

My children, run freely and shake out your bones.

I am holding the sun for you in one perfect today. Rest in that fact, and stop asking for tomorrow.

My Children, with my two hands I give you knowledge of incorruption and sinlessness.

My Children,

I present to you: The Fullness of Forever.

I’m Back! (This Issue: How My Brother’s Still Better and I’m Dating My Bike)

Dear Readership*,

Sorry for not existing recently. I was superbusy** this past week. But you know what’s even worse than a travel blog? The travel blog of someone who goes to boring places. You don’t want to hear that shit. Or maybe that would be a really good first step of a shitty travel blogger– start blogging about really dull places so they can never just complain about lines or natural beauty or use the words “Obligatory Selfie.” I want to read the travel blog that goes, “This place sucks. I’m leaving.” I think I’ll write that blog someday.

Fun update on how I’m losing at sibling rivalry: My big brother casually revealed to me that he has this blog about Survivor whose posts receive thousands of hits. Apparently he knows how to direct traffic to his Blogspot from Pinterest and photoshops fun cover photos that may or may not also be memes. He gets comments and followers and people apparently appreciate it and he didn’t even have to send the link of his blog to everyone in the family with the caption “PLEASE READ MY BLOG PLEASE” to try to create some sort of readership so that the Stats*** aren’t abysmal. But I’m not whining. This blog is for me and the improvement of my voice and maybe Colin should just grow up and stop trying to compare himself to me because we’re not even comparable and why can’t we all just get along and WHY MUST YOU ALWAYS BE BETTER THAN ME?****

Fingers on rubber handlebars make school worth doing. That red bike, no longer covered with duct tape, is the partner that stood by me and under me throughout the fall’s academic failings, the winter’s endless helltunnel of weather, and the spring’s Cabot Assassin chasings and fleeings. The beautiful bike that rolled into summer unable to slow down because it only had a weak front brake. On it, I learned how to maneuver the streets of Cambridge, climbing on and off sidewalks and one-way streets and almost killing countless tourists. It was the foundation of a year. It was the only one who knew where I was when no one else did. When I needed to be alone, it came along for the ride and didn’t ask questions. Even on rainy days and hints of snow, it waited outside my door to just to run to class and share the blame for my tardiness. This one time I left it where I shouldn’t have and it disappeared and my heart broke. And then a nice security guard told me he was taking care of it and we were reunited and I had never loved it more. I haven’t thought of a name yet, but I don’t feel like I need to. It’s neither a boy nor a girl, though definitely has a manlier aesthetic and I’d like to think that it’s my primary boyfriend sometimes. But it’s an it. It’s Bike. I don’t need to quirkify it or personify it. Does one personify Freedom? Only in metaphorical paintings and patriotic poems.


Clickclicklicklicklicklicikkclicklcikclick CRUNCH whiirrrrr.

*Mom and Aunty Kristin


***Yeah, I can see how many people read these. See (*)

****Cut to a poem I wrote in 4th grade entitled “WHY? WHY? WHY?” about how our parents love him more.*****

*****Don’t worry. As far as I know, our parents love us equally and we had a lovely childhood and we get along quite well. I’m sleeping on his couch in Dallas right now and bought him cacti yesterday to decorate his new apartment. I wrote my college essay about how much I admire his humble courage and how I learned to stop competing against him.

Squirrel Paw in Salt Water

I don't know how to make this gray box go away.

I turned up the music and wrote this. “Create Me Inside Out” is what happened in silence.

There’s this thing that once happened

Where I walked on this ledge once

And once, I dipped my toe into the water

And once I almost fell over but knew I wouldn’t

And it happened a handful of times

It was this thing that I knew

That I knew I was doing

When I played piano keys at 3am

And knew that I was making something happen

And laughed and dipped my toe

And maybe drove crazy

It happened and I didn’t mean to

But I let it happen when I smiled

And I let it happen when I studied

And wrote stories and saw romance

And once I almost fell over but knew I wouldn’t

I played like a squirrel on the ledge

And the dog would never catch it

And I wanted more and more

And hung up flags of red but

He didn’t see the warning signs that

I wasn’t even coming close

And I dipped my toe into the water

With my little squirrel paw

And tasted it but smiled and didn’t

Let anything get closer than

The water seeping into my little

Squirrel paw and the prayer flags

And I played piano and the other one

Thought I did this all the time and

I thought maybe I do but then I don’t

Because that’s not what I’m like

Because I’m like the dog

I’m like the golden retriever puppy

Watching tennis balls thrown not squirrels

But the other one thought I did this all the time

And then the other one

And then the other one

But I’m not like that I’m not

I’m the golden retriever victim that just keeps running

And the other one thought I did it all the time

But I’m not like that because thunder rumbles

And I still like blankets in the cold

And watching raindrops and watching movies

That only make me feel happy

And I’m too scared to watch scary things

And I’m too big and too in love to fall

But there I was and I played on edges

And dipped squirrel toes in crashing waves

That wanted to play with me too

And there were dogs barking in the waves

And I searched for myself on the shore

And couldn’t find even warning signs

Of red flags saying that the tide was too rough

But there was undertoe and it flipped me upside down

But still I’m not like that

I promise I’m not like that it was just the other one

And I’m not like that because I like Kate Nash

And day dream about ponies and doodle

And have so many loves and romances

And forget sometimes that I have feelings

That I won’t ever ever let go of.

Like for example this poem I’m writing

With music playing loudly

And that’s how I trick them is that

I have so much here and how could she possibly

Only be dancing on the edge

I have so much here and of course she’ll dive

Because she’s the type that loves the ocean too

Because she’s the type that loves to swim in the cold

Because she’s the type that turns blue so easily

And then laughs away the tears of salt water

Like for example that I’ll keep texting

And for example I’ll keep wondering

And for example my heart will keep skipping

Beat beat beat beat beat beat

And I’ll show you it.

I’ll show you that read beating heart

And you’ll taste it

And then I’ll dip my squirrel toe in salt water

And then I’ll jump back onto land because

Maybe I can’t swim

Or at least I don’t want to show you I can.

This message brought to you by flirting. Now read it again.

Create Me Inside Out

Create me inside out so that they might know me better when I pull things inside. And the pieces I’ve touched might stick to me and I can swallow them up too. And they, familiar with my inside, might care for it closer and remember what was there. And the outside will be almost a Toyota Corolla. And they’ll peer through the windows to find my face and the music I play and the smells and the things I carry and let fall apart. Let me be outside in, digesting the pieces I could have presented and nurturing that tenderest conscious that is self. So that belly fat and pimples aren’t blasphemous intrusions but pieces of sand that polished the pieces of mind that mattered.

When I am ready, flip me back. And I will run my own fingers over my own skin and thank myself for holding in exactly what I wanted to show to everyone so that I may carry it and remember it and prove it to be everything. And I will have form and I will have figure and I will walk right side out and right side up and the whole world will remember me for the things that I used to drag around outside. And they’ll say, “That’s a pretty face, but remember what was behind those eyes?”

But the Downhill is the Best Part

Yeah, I’m thinking of you.

When maybe a little bit stays
And maybe not everything’s gone.
But the downhill is the best part.


After the last one, I wrote 77 reasons I’d be happy he’s gone.
After you, I couldn’t think of any.
Maybe it’s not because everything was perfect or because it shouldn’t have ended.
But maybe just because there is no resentment.
After everything I have no regret.
After everything you were never gone.


Thank you for being with me tonight.
Even as you sleep.
For knowing that I’m knowing that it’s okay.
There are so few girls
That know how important it is to be really loved
That know what it feels like to be prioritized
To know what it feels like to be goddamn smart
And goddamn sexy
And goddamn respected
And that shit took me by surprise.


You lit a candle
And flickered all over my life.
My hut, my dog, my family, my green finger.
And, Dearest, you never stop shining.


Remember that weekend, will you?
Remember me searching the crowd for your face
And recognizing Us in the middle of a city
And trying to figure out how we got there
And spinning the camera around like
The whole world revolved around that moment.
Because it did, Dearest.


It’s haunting and hurtful and happy at once
The cold that crept into the corners of our jackets
But we shook it off gently as we skipped over ice
And you made me laugh again and again
And knew the pieces behind my eyes
That melted when you came by
And you knew I was scared
So you built me a fort.


You forgave me.
In gentle integrity,
You helped me up
And never asked more.


We have the same home
And we have the same love
Of the same places with the same memories
And our hearts are next door neighbors.

So let us be rascals in a mind’s eye,
Squeezing onto sofas and tasting mountaintops.
Teach me stick shift and I’ll teach you piano,
And we’ll keep on writing masterpieces.

I’m me and I’m happy and I’m alright as Not Us.
But on this day, Dearest, let’s blow off the dust.

Perfect memories build perfect futures
But question marks punctuate our paths.
So reach your hand behind the headrest
And don’t forget that I’m still here.

What we share doesn’t have an anniversary.
It’s just a simple story of little you and little me.


You must be a painter
Because I was colorblind
Until you tenderly painted the words
In technicolor 
Across my nose dimple.

Poems Between My Dog and Thunder

I apologize for my weak dialog yesterday. Rereading it, I noticed that I could be a relatively mediocre and stereotypical children’s writer.

I leave in 20 minutes to ride a horse on a field with a ball and some friends, so I will have to be fast.

A Poem from My Dog to the Thunder


I’ve done nothing wrong.

In fact I have been on FANTASTIC behavior today.

I sat and watched SO MANY HUMANS eat bacon

And then YOU. There you are with your grumbling stomach.

Creeping up and whispering in my ears.

Pounding down upon ALL THAT IS RIGHT AND GOOD.

I’M HUNGRY TOO, you know.

A Poem from the Thunder to My Dog

I’m still here.

You thought you’d lost me,

But I’m still here.

You don’t have to run, you know.

I never wanted to scare you off.

You, man’s best friend,

Never to look into the face of the storm.

There have been some to dance in the rain

The few who made my existence

The littlest bit more than nuisance

But you remain,

Reminding me that everyone

Will always better love the sun.

A Poem from My Dog to the Thunder

I never knew.

You? I’ve hurt you?

If I could lick your face and make it better

But you’ve already cried the river streams full.

Here I am.

Play with me

A Poem from the Thunder to My Dog


A Poem from My Dog to the Thunder


And Scene. 

A Portrait of Marriage in Pastel

Sometimes when I can’t get words out, I close my eyes. It doesn’t make much sense, of course. My words were never visual.

Maybe it’s the direct connection from my thought process to my fingertips. Like a conversation, I can’t take back my words or hardly remember what my last sentence was. Like Snapchat.

It’s an interesting thing, that. Snapchat chat. Texting like a conversation. It doesn’t seem to work out that way, of course. I still forget and I don’t have the eye contact or the same breath of air to keep me connected. I can read and forget and never respond and there is no consequence.

When I said I loved you, it was just what I meant. So when you ask me: Where was I when? Every time, I was right by your side.

What great lyrics. Thanks James Morrison. Hits me each time I listen. What a beautiful love song. What an image of love I never really think about. The idea of love that you’re building up to and looking back on. The kind of love that makes a stable trust through years and years. That skepticism and doubt can’t shake because you know and he knows or she knows or they know that you were there. No question of separation. Maybe that’s the hardest part of love. To be present in someone else’s life no matter what. To live with space, but never too much to fall away. I wonder if that balance has ever been struck. I wonder if that’s what I’m going to want.

Today, I think I want to get married. I don’t know if that sentiment will last forever. I don’t know if I’ll always want to take part in an archaic construction like marriage. I don’t know if I’ll start to disagree with those traditions and labels. But today I nurture a little image of little Robiny in a white dress that fits just right and a person waiting for me and smiling at me and holding my hand for a long long time.

Here’s the marriage I’ve got on my mind:

Lydia woke up late this morning. She forgot to set the alarm and slept right through the cycling class. She’ll have to text Sarah to apologize for not being there to grab breakfast afterward. She rolls to her left and places her palm on Greg’s warm back. Stirring, he smiles over his shoulder. “You’re still here.”

Yellow light arches through white curtains and lands on pale blue blankets and his soft olive shirt. She slips out of the sheets and enters her pastel world. Her feet are cold on the hardwood floor as she pads to the kitchen. She pulls out two clay mugs from the dishwasher and places them on the granite countertop.

The sound of grinding coffee beans were enough to get Greg out of bed. He runs his hands through too much hair as he walks through the doorframe. He ducks into the closet for a scoop of dog food, which he pours into a bowl Abigail glazed 20 years ago.

A golden retriever pushes past, hungry for her breakfast.

Greg pulls up a stool and watches Lydia steaming milk.

“I forgot to set my alarm again.”

“We’re gonna have to buy a rooster for you. Want to go for a bike later on then?”

She turns around, her metal cup holding the perfect ratio of froth and milk. “I could do that.” And they look at each other. Right in the eyes.

She pours the milk over two espresso shots each, a little more froth for her, a little more milk for him, and sits across from him.

They sip in silence, each treasuring the caffeine entering their bloodstream.

“Want toast?” He leaves his seat to grab the loaf from the woven basket by the sink.

“Sure—thanks. Is that the bread you got at the new place by Richard’s?”

“Yeah— Not as good as they made it seem, but it should be fine toasted.”

“Way to sell it!”

“I’ll tell you what. How ‘bout we make it French?”

Her hands leave her mug and she moves to the refrigerator. “Good idea. I wanna get rid of some of these eggs.”

She cracks and whips, he sparks the burner and warms the skillet.

“How’d the debate go last night?”

A childish grin spreads from his crow’s feet to his teeth. “I wish you were there to watch with me. It was hilarious. Trump just keeps getting crazier.”

With big eyes and a mocking seriousness, “Greg, it’s making me nervous. What if he wins??”

“It can’t happen! But if it does it’ll be hilarious.”

“Let’s move to Canada!”

Greg lets the toast sizzle on the skillet and wraps his arms around Lydia, looking off through the window in playful romanticism. “Too cold. Let’s go back to London.”

“Too far from Abby and Connor. Mexico?”

“Not with your Spanish. Or lack of melanin.” He looks down into her green smiling eyes. “What about Russia?”

“Fine. If Trump wins, we move back to London.” She pecks his cheek, wiggles out of his arms, and reaches for their coffees. “But I’m picking the apartment.”

In a messy kitchen in August, French toast burns, a golden retriever asks a hand for a scratch, unfinished books accumulate creases and coffee stains, Stephanie texts back, and the world keeps turning gently and slowly and forever.


I’m having a hard time coming up with angsty things to write around here. I’m in a cabin with horses out my window and Aspens twinkling. I guess even if I don’t have speckle trees, I have the twinkles here that no other tree has figured out.

I find myself thinking about everything I should be doing. Running, tanning, riding, training, something outside and productive and strong. I haven’t been bad or lazy, but it’s true that there’s something in my gut that keeps trying to catapult me into more action. But right now I will fight it, for maybe 15 minutes, and write a little something. I heard a podcast by someone who said that the best writers aren’t always tortured or always happy or always comfortable; they’re the ones that keep writing through all of those stages. So my stage right now is one of uncomfortable beauty. Let’s see where it puts me. I’m turning the music up.


Emily doesn’t know why she came here tonight. Sitting on a couch alone in a world of friendly foreigness. Cheese and sausages and sorbet and tastes of things she’s only tasting. Jokes and fun and banter and he’s not sitting next to her why not. They know all about How I Met Your Mother and make wisecracks about the stars. It’s a bear, you know. Not a dipper. It’s a bear but you can’t see it why isn’t he even looking at her. They’ve never met someone from Harvard before. Sure we’ll send you back t-shirts lookatherlookatherlookather. He’s gone through glass doors.

He’s complicated, says a friend. It’s not just the girlfriend. He’s been complicated, she says. Emily understands. She’s complicated too. She didn’t need the heart or anything. She doesn’t know why she wants that touch but thinks that it’s probably only because he’s not giving it to her. She doesn’t even know him even hardly. It’s the girlfriend and it’s not her and she repeats it in her head until she’s numb and playing Candy Crush and losing all of her lives because her eyes are searching the moonlit pool reflection for his footsteps coming back please come back.

He’s been complicated, you know. He moves things. He relights his cigarettes. He. What word… I don’t know if it translates. It’s complicated. Maniac? No, that’s not it.

He’s back. Emily searches for complication.

As her eyes follow his movements, she can’t tell that a part of her mind is stirring.That chunk she drugged to sleep last winter. Simplicity had been ideal. There was a man in Chicago and she just wanted some radio buzz to fill in her blanks. She had nicely numbed and compartmentalized what she wanted and was afraid of blurring lines. But something in the back of her brain was blinking awake, warming more than her pride.


He holds a glass of rosé in his right hand, but his head turns left and away. He closes his eyes. He’s saying something under his breath. No one’s noticing. He’s suspended—unmovable and submerged in an omnipotent nothing.


The glass comes to his lips and his face turns back toward the candle light. His eyes open and he throws himself into conversation. What just happened? Where did that come from? Why hasn’t she noticed this before? Is it just the girlfriend? Is he thinking about her?

She finds an excuse to move closer. To let her knee touch his. To let him know that she casually and apathetically wants to be near him tonight. They sit like that for a while.


He jumps out of his seat and walks toward the water. His fingers go to his tear ducks and he’s closing his eyes and checking his phone. He’s putting his phone in the pocket of his ripped jeans. He’s closing his eyes and checking his phone. He’s putting his phone in pocket of his ripped jeans. He’s closing his eyes and putting his fingers in his tear ducks and he’s checking his phone and checking his phone and checking and putting his phone in the pocket of his checking his phone and putting his phone in the pocket of his ripped jeans.


He’s back. She hooks her foot under his ankle once more to feel his warmth or maybe share hers. Lost in French, she keeps him in the corner of her eye and realizes the humanity of a man she thought was the simplicity she wanted. He smiles at her, runs his thumb along her cheek. Electric.


He’s gone. His fingers jolt, puppets trying to bring a cigarette to his mouth. His eyes are closed and he waits for something in his mind to settle. Cigarette delivered, he sparks the lighter and lets the fire die. Cigarette delivered, lighter sparks and dies. Sparks and dies and sparks and cigarette and dies and dies and lights and sparks and dies and lights and cigarette and the cigarette begins to burn. And the lighter dies. And he breathes in smoke and waits.


She’s never been an Eye Girl before. Never remembered the color, never got hooked by the brightness or the blueness or the brownness or the darkness. Never could pull off the line, “He’s not that hot, but his eyes…” She always thought it was bullshit. But tonight eyes were all she wanted. She could touch his elbow or brush a shoulder, but his eyes. They were gifts he wouldn’t give her.


Cigarette pack on the table. Cigarette pack near the corner of the table. Cigarette pack near the center of the table. Cigarette pack in the air. Cigarette pack on the table. Cigarette pack between the sausage and the sorbet. Cigarette pack near the corner of the table. Cigarette pack near. Cigarette.


She aches to feel present in his life. Just for the night. Or maybe longer or maybe she’s alright with just a conversation and a something that makes her feel like something and she can show him she’s not just an Americaine like everyone else and that she didn’t mean it she really didn’t she wants the electricity and to hell with simplicity and dear God please tell me I’m worth you because you’re just fantastic. Please.

He opens his eyes.

Fucking Jesus, what eyes.

She’s grinning in the simplest way. Suspended. He is exactly what she didn’t want. She’s addicted to the nicotine on his breath and his smile and his horrible jokes. She drinks it in and holds on for dear life.




So I’m stateside trying to type with one hand because the other one is petting my dog. My world is full of “How was it?”s and my mom’s already tired of hearing me say “In France…”

I’m in the mountains and this afternoon I rode a wonderful horse and played wonderful polocrosse. And I came home to a place where there are dinners in the lodge and I can walk in and have a family of kids with stories from the river or stories from the corral or gentle disinterest in why I’ve been gone all summer. I’m in the arms of grown-ups who knew me as a pipsqueak. I’m buying my coffee from the mayor with a baseball cap.

It’s easy to forget that when you leave nice things, there are often nice things waiting for you on the other side.