That’s what she says—but what a woman says to a passionate lover ought to be scribbled on wind, on running water.Catallus
Footprints No. 234
Stood in that frail moment. The type of silence human beings share with one another for the purpose of one another. The man was resolute. Sunk his forehead into his palms. Behind them, some amber traffic signal flashes evenly outside the window pane. He made his way down the narrow and scarlet stair that lead into the frore night. Bleak melody quietly passes through the glass, pursues him out onto the late and deserted avenue.
— Fall 2012
Not that I want to be a god or a hero. Just to change into a tree, grow for ages, not hurt anyone.Czesław Miłosz
Footprints No. 1142
Nine years. That’s how long it had been since he’d known the innards of international travel. The terminal is little less than intriguing. He folds back the flap of a polyester laptop case and retrieves the device. Finding the gate isn’t the task he imagined, though the full body scanner was a relatively unsettling procedure. Even though he’d been warned. Full cavity search being the ladder, it was common for a person to settle for small doses of radiation.
They become preoccupied with events that have passed - obsessing endlessly on a possible wrong answer or a missed opportunity. They are anxious and depressed and often self-medicate with drugs or alcohol. Sleep is difficult and they walk around in a fog of exhaustion. Other kids simply fold their cards and refuse to play.Teach Your Children Well: Madeline Levine
Step on White Men’s Shadows II
That’s just the problem.
Back before there were any territory, everything was free game, and the boys were always searchin’ for new ways to keep the one-up on the buck. Tax-men came knockin’, and they knew the game, which meant that they charged us accordin’ly. The fellas was gonna need either more dough, or more shovels.
That’s when the Knife comes up with this deal, see?
Danny boy makes his walk in the park, markin’ shifts and takin’ orders. No one’s ever late, no one’s ever short — they know better. Specially with Mack on the receivin’ end of things. Better to not show ya face south’a Dallas if ya end up on his sore side.
When Dan comes under the bridge I keep watch up top. Readin’ the paper, smokin’ cigar-ette’s, whatever passes the time, until the guy makes his appointment.
First, the guy walks opposite of me, right? — on the other side’a the bridge. He whistles three times and tilts his hat forward. Gotta’ be three, nice and clear — if he screws it up, he’s out.
Next, I give the go-ahead by facin’ away from the guy and jammin’ both hands in my pockets — always left, and then right. Right now I’m lookin’ at Roy, who’s stationed at second watch, across the creek-bed in an old warehouse, but the guy don’t know that.
Now the guy turns and makes his way down from the street into the park trail and under the low bridge. Far in the warehouse, after the guy is gone, Roy removes his hands from his pockets, right, and then left, which is my signal to do the same.
Once I do that, Lenny sits up on the park bench down below, looks first to his left, then right, closes his almanac, and calmly makes his way for the bridge.
Len walks the whole park til he’s back at his bench, by then Danny boy’s already made his third, or fourth, or however many rounds.
This is how business works now.
Footprints No. 141
Listless is the early and black dawn. Rusted, a street-lamp cascades their scrap in coral hue.
They have been silent for some time — and they sit, unmoving.
He speaks. Another… keep em’ comin’.
Reluctantly she draws a shade — it leapt from her fingers, clung to Farmer’s lips.
Her cheeks are salty and white with tears, face still beating red.
Whore. He rations with her. Great whores have gone on to be famous and beautiful.
He groans, taking an audible draw of the shadow.
She does not look at him.
Covered her gasp with her free hand — should she break into tears again, gripped the festering carton in the other.
For pain, small moments linger.
Women like you are the reason. Farmer’s throat shrivels.
For hours they share the discomfort. Vacant, she stares, and she sighs longingly. Nestled dearly between her satin palms, she gazes into the carton, embroidered in golden textile.
There was no longer darkness that swallowed, and, for the first time, she could see the bottom.
There was light then —
Lifting her chin, the street-light flickers, giving way to the slow, violet dawn — she is alone.
The World is Nothing More than all the Tiny Things You Left Behind
Cracked, the warm mahogany frame, hand-whittled by her grandfather whom he’d never had the pleasure of meeting, but, felt as if he’d known personally, after much time with her family; it rattled into an old, out-dated and empty stapler. He shook the wooden handle of the drawer again. The desktop shuddered.
That god damned drawer always stuck.
From within the frame, coiled in her darling arms, captured, he scrutinized his present self while he tore through the office. Flowing, her hair wrapt his shoulder. The photograph curled inside the wood, browned with age and the edges of each of them too had faded.
Shook the handle again, cocking his arm to heave one last time, but then he stopped himself. He let go of the drawer. Watched it plainly — like a woman leafing through grocery aisles, or a blind man feeling casually around a bus-bench. He turned to leave.
The watch beeps.
He knew that it would. It wasn’t fair of him to walk away, to leave the device set at an interval of time that was unique only to him. Locked away in the dark of a stubborn desk-drawer.
Turning once to regard it’s muffled plea, his dry grip tightens against the suitcase handle. The leather is smooth with a worn contour to his fingers. Stood there, like so many nights, when the rain waited patiently for him to exit the office. Shadows caress the round skirts of lamp-shades and the oaken fists, clenched at the end of long winded chair arms.
Cloud-cover befell his den.
And he heard their doors. His heart raced — if for just a moment. Contemplated the small hands of the watch, gold and tarnished. Not this time, he thinks coldly to himself.
He was calm, straightening his collar. Turned to the rusting and deep filing cabinets behind him. There he knelt down, pulled open a drawer and leafed through manilla folders and dividers.
Outside, their foot steps grew loud against the metal stair-case. No longer did he despair. Inside one folder he found the old gray-scale photograph of Paul and James. He was always the one behind the camera — which unfortunately was the reason he was left.
“Only a matter of time…” He mumbles to himself.
The two men stare at him from the photo.
The cuffs were in that shot too. He replaced the photo; heard their muffled bickering. Rifled through another few drawers for a moment longer before he produced old cuffs with old locks.
There was no key.
He slipped the first ring around the handle of the suitcase, and then clasped the second to his right wrist.
Silhouetted in the sil of the wide windows, dark with blinders — the shapes of three men. He rises, finds his hat at the rack by the door — the flash of detonating cartridges illuminate his cheek, the desk, the empty stapler, picture frame, fading; reaches even to the little watch hands through the key-hole of the top desk-drawer.
The glass ruptures, erupting into the office.
Bullets splinter the room, shattering the desktop, biting through metal and dismantling chairs. His left shoulder is first, then the right bicep, and by the time the third missile found his left calf, he begun to entertain thoughts of escape — hell, they’d made it out of worse — not before they finally found his gut, stuck a bullet to the suitcase, and, the last right into his breast.
That one physically pushed him the most, it must have buried into his lung. Even so, he composed himself. The firing had ceased. Blood ran the seams of his three-piece. He adjusted the hat on his head, and threw the door open wide.
Stepped out into the soft drizzle. High-rises above scream in the gray of silence.