She rolled a 5×5 matrix around on her tongue, and it was harder than watching her with a lollipop.
Is your boyfriend picking you up? It was unnecessary, so he didn’t say it.
Instead, “You’re drunk,” he pointed out, not un-humorously.
She leaned back into the couch, and stretched her arms upward with a wince, with evident satisfaction. The matrix glimmered on her tongue as she laughed. Her eyes were sleepy and contented, like a cat’s.
He imagined that she was imagining the arc of a satellite launched up and out into orbit.
“Not really!” she retorted. But she had water rather than beer now, and while she looked faraway in that sleepy, contented way, her expressions also made the two of them closer than they appeared. There was a half-cushion’s worth of couch between them. Rows and columns rattled against the edge of her glass as she drank, the sound like an ice cube.
“You can always stay here, if you want. We have room.” The couch. His bedroom.
The party had died down too much for anything they said to be confidential. Her gamine smile hid the numbers in her mouth, and her utter comfort in the curves of the couch was evident even as she put her glass down on the coffee table, and stood up.
Image from Mickey Shannon Photography
The Crone of the Westward Hunch
For her Eastern twin went searching
And beneath her no road rushed
And none was long kept waiting
She took the lonely mountain paths
And the cowherd’s grassy trail
Towns and thoroughfares she passed
By day and starlight pale
Rare was the one who, pausing
Heard more than the branches sigh
In a wind down from the highlands
When the Westward Crone was nigh (more…)
Ksarveel, splayed fingers,
and breath arrested, staring
through the void both near and far,
in alien lights yet glistening
she recalls the warmth of a star
But there Earth’s detritus spinning
about a whorl of Lethe’s conception
rocks and silky gravel hissing
without sound upon the Sun’s extinction
all about its inky heart and rim
She, naught but ambient life
in food plucked and flesh contrived
knows death by nanoseconds of non-light
bursting lungs through photons sinking
from star to maw, from day to night
Forsake me, but I will keep
A cameo onyx and silver
Nestled among sheets
In my oaken chest
Then your shadow will not stray
From the foot of my bed, you
With your white face
And charcoal brow
Only remember me in donning
Your gown like a night river
And whisper in passing
A word for me
Lost in the sheets, never finding the bed
That night no temptation was laid down to rest
No contentment but daydreams banishing sleep
Of a dance in the dark and a touch on the cheek
This false-beating heart will twist her awake
While yearnings prick sweeter than honour or faith
An eyeful of stars to corner her dreams
Her innermost faults, her innermost seams
Mrs. DeWhitt was a bit too unerring in her instincts for her own good. Somehow, whether by the curling of her toes or a pinch in her right shoulder, she knew when Mr. DeWhitt was inappropriately occupied with the nth chamber maid, the girl-who-came-only-on-Wednesdays, the innkeep’s daughter, or any other bit of female miscellany under the age of thirty.
During these times (which constituted most of the time) Mr. DeWhitt would often be puzzled to find his dinner late, cold, or absent; his gloves, or cuff links, or rifle missing; his galoshes continually, inexplicably muddied; and his best scotch disappearing faster than he could rightly account for.
Unfortunately for the marriage, Mrs. DeWhitt exercised her powers in so natural and unconscious a manner, and Mr. DeWhitt was so far from thinking these mishaps anything but coincidence, that the gentleman never realized that he was receiving his just desserts, and the lady was never content.