Literary Orphans

Two Flashes
by Katherine Gehan

I SEE THE WAY YOUR EYES FOLLOW ME AT TARGET474824_420620968045118_733851623_o

I would guess you did not write a poem in your head about us like I did while you made a jump-shot in the middle school gymnasium to impress me. My poem wonders if your wife knows how intently you have watched me all over town. We are too old for this, trading glances at Kids Sports Camp, beneath the singeing light of suburban box stores, at the charming town playground, towing our collections of children along like trophies, like props.

 

You are dark and lean and I imagine your mother speaks to you in Russian. I could climb you, a chubby squirrel nesting at the first frost.

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FAT GIRL LAMENT

In a jazz bar in Vienna the ceiling is painted with stars, like the domes of the gothic churches Janie visits on Tuesday mornings to pray for a night like this. The ceiling is vaguely romantic as it cracks and peels, threatening to flake down upon them, a cathedral to imperfection.

Beneath the table, his leg shifts to a trumpet bleat and lingers against her. His winsome smile opens hope and she presses her thigh to his. Janie decides she will sleep with him.

On his bed, her skirt pulled to her waist, she imagines herself a disjointed, angular creature, the subject of an Egon Schiele sketch on a museum wall. She remains a Botticelli as he kisses her fleshy back, but it is as good a time as any to feel beautiful. Janie chooses to believe his desire makes her beautiful.

In the morning he breaks the Sunday silence, makes an offering of thanks for her lustiness, for a good time when he was lonely. Through the gritty window Janie watches sleet fall and melts on the asphalt, all of the night’s loveliness sliding into the pockmarks and depressions on the street.

 

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Katherine Gehan lives with her husband and two sons in the Midwest, but mourns the New York City bagels of her youth. She holds an MFA in fiction from Emerson College and, among other places, has had work published in McSweeney’s Internet TendencyUsed Furniture ReviewMuddy River Poetry ReviewLiterary MamaWhiskeyPaper, and MetroFiction.

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–Art by Bostjan Tacol