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Christopher, Part I

Image courtesy of hdm1652

Image courtesy of hdm1652

The chime jingled cheerily as Aris pulled open the heavy coffee shop door. He smelled Cara’s hair as she brushed by him. Their chunky winter coats competed for room in the narrow opening. He was about to make a fool of himself.

Sitting now, coffee in hand, he casually inquired. “So, you’ve mentioned Christopher a couple of times…”

A month back, the two had met at the home of an old grad school professor. Dubbed “Mr. Chips,” Dr. Miles could be counted on to throw a big bash every Christmas. It served as an informal reunion for decades of students who would otherwise have lost touch–or never have met at all.

A moment ago they had been talking about hiking boots and the best places to get kebabs. Cara bit her lip and grew quiet as she stared into her mug.

“I loved him.”

Aris knew he couldn’t compete. He sat up straighter. He would listen. He would listen and then fade into the background before she could see through him.

“I gave him the best I had. Maybe more than I could afford…. I acted like I was in control but I was kidding myself. He knew me too well. He knew my strengths, my weaknesses–every contour of my mind and body. And he used what he knew. He pushed me to my limits.”

This was unexpected. Uncomfortable.

“So…he abused you.”

“No, no. It wasn’t like that.

“I don’t understand then.”

“I thanked him for it. I wanted it.” She was looking right at him now.

She wasn’t the person Aris had thought she was. He had to look away.

“I hung on his every word. I wanted his love so badly.” Her voice and expression had become intense. “I just wanted to know I was special to him. I would have done just about anything he asked. Deep down, I knew he did love me. But I was just so needy.”

She deflated.

“I can’t believe he’s gone. I never saw it coming.”

“Lovers, then.”

“No. No. God, no!” Reverie interrupted, Cara came to. She broke into an amused smile.

“I thought you knew. Christopher was my coach.”

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Thinking in Pictures

Thinking in Pictures

The subway hums me tiredly into the city
At first it refuses
I know to bribe the turnstile for the magic words
OPEN SESAME
The doors grudge open

A fresh bird splat
A drying froth of tubercular sputum
The foamy casing of the spittle bug
All this and more performed in the thick Plexiglas window
By the unknowing artist and his stealthy Zippo

Green as sick and left for dead after a long drunk
Broken glass on a trash-strewn hill
Cries out as rocks must
Murmurating brilliance at the strike of a glancing beam
Spring is too young to cover this nakedness

Clamors for love and validation
Crowd the breath out of every surface
Spray-painted, etched, burned, gouged
Whatever it takes
To starve at our eyes

See me
Love me
Tell me I Am

We present with words

Are we so different?

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