Short Shrift by Sheila Black

The square of paler light from the
window and before sunrise. The tree on the
corner that seems to keel over from an
overdose of blossom. Yellow dog
licking her hand again. Bus windows
now in rain and the click of the
wipers. Moment before the moment
she straightens her coat, smoothes
her hair. That one time she saw him
walking to meet her, and he didn’t know
she was there. “Irradiated"--that word
and “apparate," from “apparition,"
even if it doesn’t exist. The creek that
returned even though she believed
it gone for good--that year of too much
heat. Waisthigh grass that tickles
too much. Bluefly, dragonfly dead on
the sidewalk. Bluebonnet on the highway.
The story someone told her--and why wouldn’t
it be true?--about the development behind their
house, and when the bulldozers came
someone noticed a doe standing so still
in the smallest patch of weeds.

All Rights Reserved--2007-2024