ASHES

by Harold Abramowitz

I took a walk in the alley. I turned, thinking that I would see you standing next to me. It

was funny. I thought there was going to be a fight. I wanted to ask you a question. I put

my hands out. I thought about a million different things at one time. I took another long

walk. I tried to find something that I’d lost on the ground. I was certain that something

was going to happen. But what was going to happen? I kind of needed to know. I put

my hands out. You were growing up very quickly. It was a brand new day. I put my

hands out. I had to keep still. It was a more or less ordinary day. There was nothing

special about the day, at that point. I looked up and down the street. I tried to get a good

idea of where I was standing. I wanted to ask you a question. It was morning. We took

a walk and talked to each other. I was going to ask you a question right before you

started talking to me. I put my hands out. Unexpectedly, I had to steady myself. I stood

on the street, near the alley. I put my hands out. We stood very near the alley. There

was something I wanted to say to you. I put my hands out. The day was cold. I put my

hands out. It was a golden morning. It was going to be a very beautiful day. You put

your hands out. I stood on the street, right next to the alley. I wore a long coat. I asked

you how long you had lived in that part of the city. You could see me from where you

were sitting on the couch in the living room. I had waited a long time for just the right

moment. In fact, it was a perfect opportunity. I put my hands out. I asked you a

question. I was able to keep very still, at that point. There was something I wanted to

ask you about. I put my hands out. The morning was cold. I stood in the alley and

waited for you to come home.

~

It was funny. It was like I could hear everything you were thinking, at that point. I

turned and told you that it was like I could hear everything you were thinking. It was

funny. I put my hands out. I looked at the sky. We knew each other very well, at that

point, I thought. It was funny. We sat on the chairs in the garden. There was a song

playing on the radio. I asked you if I could come over. I wanted to come over. It was

funny. I was still not quite awake. I wondered what we were going to do that evening. It

was funny. I liked the song that was playing on the radio. It was funny. We were

thinking exactly the same thing at the same time. And I could have said just about

anything I wanted to, at that point. I was feeling a little bit frustrated. There was

something I wanted to ask you about. I put the music out of my mind. There were very

many things we needed to discuss. I looked around the room. I wanted to ask you a

question. It was a very nice day. The day outside was very bright. I could see you from

where I was standing in the hall. I put my hands out. It had been a very long day. It was

funny. It was getting later and later, at that point. I was feeling a little bit frustrated. I

wanted to ask you a question. It was going to be a beautiful day. There was something I

wanted to ask you about. I put my hands out.

~

I was waiting for you. It was a bright and beautiful morning. I put my hands out. I was

going to say. I was going to tell you. There was something big coming on the horizon.

You wanted to ask me a question. If I were to wake up early enough in the morning to

eat breakfast, I thought. I could see that we were not going to get a lot done that day. I

put my hands out. The sun rose over the canyon. It was a question of privacy, at that

point. There was a bird in the tree in the garden. I saw that it was going to be a very

beautiful day. There was much to think about. There were very many things to consider,

at that point. I put my hands out. I put my shoes on. I could see you from where I was

standing in the hall. I couldn’t hear myself think. I wanted to ask you a question. I put

my hands out. I was sure that the world was going to explode, at that point. I was sure

that there was going to be explosions and hands and arms flailing. And this was the

world, I thought. It was a real part of me, too, I thought. It was like I was standing in a

corner. I was not going to let myself think of anything more important than that, I

thought. I put my hands out. Yet I was in charge of that moment of the day as surely as I

was in charge of anything else, I thought. Like I was in a circle. I couldn’t believe in a

cloud, though. Could you believe in a cloud? I wanted to ask you a question. I was

feeling a little bit frustrated. I put my hands out. We were never wrong. You said as

much, too. You said that it had been a long day, and that we only ever made matters

worse. It was funny. I wished that I had a plum, something healthier than what I had

been eating, for breakfast, at that point. The summer was going to be warm and

beautiful, I thought.

~

It was going to be a very beautiful day. I put my hands out. It was summer. If I looked

across the canyon, at that point, I might see a million little boats in the sky, I thought.

You said that you were not going to complain, that complaining only made matters

worse. I only asked that things be kept in good order, I said. Everything was going to

happen in due time, I thought. There was no question of running late, of making a mess,

you said. It would not have occurred to me to challenge the way we were doing things, at

that point. You sat on the chair in the kitchen. I put my hands out. The sun shone

brightly in the sky. It was a brand new day. I wondered what we were going to do that

evening. It was funny. The day was brand new. I looked across the canyon. There was

definitely something new in the air, I thought. It was summer, a brand new season. The

sun shone brightly above the canyon. There was definitely something new in the air, I

thought. I wanted to ask you a question. I put my hands out. You wanted to ask me a

question. There was a song playing on the radio. I put my hands out. I was in the house.

The day was going well, at that point. Things were going well, in general, I thought, at

that point. I felt good. I pointed my finger at the sky. I wanted to ask you a question. I

put my hands out.

~

The sun rose over the canyon. You stopped what you were doing and asked me a

question. I thought that I’d put my best foot forward, at that point. I put my hands out. It

was going to be a very beautiful day. In the meantime, time was going by very quickly, I

thought. I could have done a lot of things differently, at that point, I thought. I took the

ring off my finger. I had begun to look at the canyon in a very different way. You said

that you agreed with the way I felt about the canyon, at that point. It was going to be a

very beautiful day. I put my hands out. I wanted to ask you a question. I looked at the

scar on my stomach. I could see you from where I was standing in the hall. You were

something of a fixture in that town. It was hard to think of asking you to move, at that

point. However, I took the coward’s way out. I was feeling a little bit frustrated. I felt

good. I was in the middle of the house. It was a brand new day. I took another long

walk. I pointed the shovel at the ground. You smiled at me. It had been a very nice day

all around the canyon. It was a brand new day. You looked at me. It was like the very

first day all over again, like the world was brand new. However, I was concerned that

you might have felt a little bit   trapped, at that point. It was a brand new day. I wanted to

ask you a question. We drove the car to the edge of the canyon. I put my hands out.

NOTE

DELAY

by Dimitra Ioannou

There must be one  –  sometimes it’s accidental  –  sometimes it’s precocious  –  must be one  –  like all things necessary.

To get help –  to find out what happened  –  some days better, some days worse  –  so many inexplicable.

And yesterday even less  –  if facts are false –  it’s likely to start today.

That whisper before the elbow.

Will be close  –  it will be calculated in application  –  the way it always happens  –   of short duration .

It will be quiet – in 24 hours  –  at least a little more –  the slightest use –  and other possibilities.

Any help is precious  –  there are lots of unlesses –  like all the rest.

That whisper, a few times a day.

And then it will be exactly the same  –  and then it’s too late  –  it’s a bit slow –  most likely.

There will be an  inversion  –  in whatever position  –  seemingly insignificant.

That whisper behind the forehead.

Not to hear  –  not to hear anything  –  they shrivel – with small bites –  in a few seconds of absorption  –  on the same straight line.

That cavity and that cavity  –  on a return move past the lobe, the neck, the collar bone  –  kind of silenced.

That reaction on the skin.

The eyes are getting wet  –  with  rawness –  with raw tenderness  –  that particular silence  –  in continuing.

I have you in my mouth and if I spoke now, if I said all the things that I haven’t said until now, my words would not transcend the tongue.  These parentheses.  That enclose, isolate, pull tight.  You are included in their opening and closure.  That mouth with no organs.  That becomes appetite,  excessive secretion, rejection. There’s hardly any sense.  The words become saliva, a series of vowels, wet vowels that are flooding; imperatively, and you raise yourself slightly.  And what happens now, happens from mouth to mouth.  That correspondence.  That complexity.