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1) All but one pair is gone, boxes empty but full of the scent of leather. The woman slides down the wall cradling his favorite oxfords. She imagines they breathe through the swirl of holes on the top. Positioning them as if they were still on the man’s feet, she pushes them under the bed with her toes. In her dreams, he will float by, barefoot, holding a train schedule like the one he last crumpled into the wastebasket. The red-circled ticket named with a string of consonants. The one she must find before she wakes alone in his abandoned shoes.
2) We are like boats on her, but better than nothing. “Nice shoes,” the man observes, although he’s not looking when he says it. He’s like King Kong, carrying the woman while we dangle beneath her nightgown. One kick and we’d sail through the air like the smell of something burning.
3) The man had called her the bright copper stain on his life. As he left, still barking, she pulled her red hair over her left shoulder and wagged it at him like the tail of a dog she once loved. Sometimes, she can still hear its tail thump the floor in greeting, but thumping against her heart now, it feels like a goodbye. The image of the barking man, barefoot, with no copper light to guide him through the dark, comes to her. “He’s probably wondering where everyone went,” she croons to her dog as she strokes its auburn fur.
About Cheryl Snell
Cheryl Snell’s books include several poetry collections and her Bombay Trilogy novels. Her work has been widely published and anthologized, including in a Best of the Net. Most recently her word appeared in the Ilanot Review, Cafe Irreal, Roi Faingeant, Literary Yard, New World Writing and elsewhere. She was trained as a classical pianist, and lives in Maryland with her husband, a mathematical engineer.
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