I pace the floors at two and three, a ghost in my own home. If I step here, the boards will creak – and there, someone has placed a chair where there should be nothing. But if I kneel, if I press my tongue to the dark wood and lay inside the dust, I can pour through the cracks and find myself again.
The second sleep is thick, full of repeated words and winding places. I wake in pieces, a dull heaviness behind my knees. When I kick at the blankets, my hand settles inside a round spot the temperature of baked bread. It’s back.
I fill the pot with enough coffee for four and make the motions of breakfast. “Cup,” I whisper. “Saucer. Bowl.” Behind the blinds at the door, the paper is thrown below the front steps in a fresh layer of snow. I tie an old peacoat around my flannels, pull a wool hat over my eyes, and retrieve the news.
For more than an hour, I perform surgery on the headlines. I slice and rearrange them, making them say what they don’t say, giving them second lives. Last month it was the prelude, but after the leak tore a hole in the ceiling, I can’t face the piano, not yet. Sometime before lunch, my thoughts settle, and I focus on my correspondence.
To: TV Guide Magazine <email@example.com>
Subject: ARTICLE I: OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE
Re: “How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Sun. Dec. 24 at Midnight ET (TNT), “the Dr. Seuss tale about the Whos and the despicable Grinch, the villain with a heart two sizes too small and a plan to steal the holiday. Boris Karloff narrates this 1966 classic.”
Suggested revision: When caught in the act of stuffing the family tree up the chimney, when the Grinch is confronted by Cindy Lou Hoo:
“Santy Claus, why?”
“Why, my sweet little tot,” the fake Santy Claus lied.
There’s a light on this tree that won’t light on one side.
It’s just like I felt when I fired the head of the FBI
He was crazy, a real nut job, just a terrible guy.”
Then he went up the chimney, himself, the old liar.
On their walls he left nothing but hooks and some wire.
Read the second episode of my fiction series at Corporeal Clamor here.
S1: E1 “Lock Her Up, Corporeal Clamor
These Days, Corporeal Clamor.
You are the Rest of Us, Corporeal Clamor.
Over Everything, Corporeal Clamor.
Test Tank, Corporeal Clamor.
You say, write something hopeful, Corporeal Clamor.
Make a Little Birdhouse in Your Soul, Corporeal Clamor.
You Can Do Anything, Corporeal Clamor.
The Right to Bare Arms, ENTROPY Magazine.
Still Gonna Do (#ShePersisted), The Manifest-Station.
PO Box 27771