“M Train by Patti Smith, A Partial Index,” The Believer Logger
Song: “Use the Back Door,” The Cloud Diary Music Project
“Exactly What To Say,” The Sun Magazine
In 1984, our last year together, there was still a big green open field behind the Mission Valley Shopping Center near our house in Raleigh. One Sunday you saw a man there inflating a hot-air balloon, and you went out to talk to him.
“World Without Columbo,” Shenandoah, republished in Redux
After the hurricane, when our cable service was finally restored, we began picking up channels we hadn’t paid for. It’s been months now and the company still hasn’t caught on. My husband feels guilty, but I tell him to look at it this way: we’ve been given a gift, the best kind, one we didn’t expect or deserve, and we should make the most of it, especially since we know it can’t last forever. The truth is, I don’t want to lose my Columbo reruns.
“Cafeteria Lady,” Prime Number Magazine
Backlit, faintly glowing, she waves me to a booth by the window, one of the narrow ones she knows I like, with cushiony seats and natural light, good for reading. I have a book on my tray as always. I come in every Wednesday after therapy for the vegetable plate, $2.99 plus tax. Today I’m having lima beans, mashed potatoes, and applesauce—soft foods, because my teeth are loose.
“Victuals,” Painted Bride Quarterly
Picture a man walking into a grocery store—Harris-Teeter, say. An old man in a corduroy coat, tufts of acrylic pile spilling out the sleeves. He stops between the automatic doors, feels around in his pockets, checks his wallet. No list.
“Museum of Hands,” Mississippi Review
A certain sculptor is known for his fragments—hands, ears, and noses he makes instead of whole bodies. Works of art in themselves, the critics proclaim; each fragment “reveals a whole character.”