Ensconced on the couch, the cat hears a bird singing outside the window. Once, she would have pressed her face against the screen, imagining a great chase. Now she listens, content to let the birds sing into the fading sun.
The old bus shelter has spray painted walls and a broken metal bench. Each morning he shuffles up the hill, a battered leatherette briefcase clutched tightly in his right hand, a copy of the Seattle Times “Nixon in China” in the other. He sits calmly on the bench case between his knees and waits patiently for the bus that hasn’t run this route for the better part of sixteen years. Still, he waits until the sun sinks behind the 7-Eleven, when he shuffles down the hill toward his small apartment satisfied with another day successfully done.
Charing Cross Road booksellers woven amid theaters cramped sagging shelves an out of print Christine Evans, slim, collected works of those long forgotten never noticed a damp chill enfolds old leather as the door opens and shuts on a late February. Morning, my purchases sink in the plastic bag dancing as I walk to the tube at Leicester Square with my new gems destined to cause a sag in my bookcase.
He is convinced he is simply squeezing the sun out of each plump orb. The sun lies within, but he lets it kiss its skin goodbye before pouring the sunshine into the oak barrels where the sun will have time to concentrate until it slips over the lips perhaps on a cold autumn day and a person’s face will brighten if for a moment and recall where he or she was the moment the vine first captured the sun.
Krevchinsky froze his ass off on the Siberian plain. The gray concrete box was traded for concrete gray skies, the whistle of the truncheon gives way to winter’s blasts. It was in many ways easier when the beatings came neatly marking the days dividing days between pain and exhaustion, all under the watchful eye of the meek incandescent sun dangling from the ceiling. In the camp day and night are reflections of an unseen clock, seasons slide from discontent to depression. The prison of the body is finite built block on block, the prison of the soul is vast, empty, dissipating life.
First appeared in HazMat Review, Vol. 1, No. 2 (1996) and later in Legal Studies Forum, Vol. 30, Nos. 1-2 (2006).
The difference between love and lust is as thin as the blade of a fine razor, as broad as the Rio Grande Canyon outside Taos, so how can you tell one from the other? Some will say it is an impossible task others will take the “I know it when I see it” route leading nowhere. There is no easy answer, certainly, but those who have tasted love will tell you the difference is monumental and elemental. I have wanted a woman deeply, cared for her, missed her in her absence but when my love, my lover, is not here I am incomplete, and that is an abyss into which I dread falling.