After the Pause: Winter 2016

Page 7

Christina Villafana Dalcher

Separation I dream we're at Gran's house on my birthday and they tell me to wait at the far edge of the cornfield for my surprise and I do it, because I'm eight and I like surprises but they say not to come back until they call and they don't, even though I hear them laughing and I see the twinkle lights and smell the smoke from Poppy's woodfire while it draws curlicues against the moon. * The blueberry swirled candy—not a cane, because it doesn't curve, but one of those straight old-fashioned stick candies they used to sell at stores called Ben Franklin and Five and Dime—becomes an ice pick while I shiver in the cold and watch my parents twirl and dance on a white sheet, performing camel spins and arabesques while a giant man made of gold looks on. * Five hundred feet over the water is a bridge with no rails and I don't know where it goes but I need to cross and I need to make sure my foot doesn't slip, but I know it will slip and I might not make it to the right side where my mates are waiting and I'll be part of the cool water, heavier than foam and lighter than reefs. A mermaid. * On our first morning at our first house, I leave my first husband in bed and make the coffee and stand with it in the driveway watching colored leaves blow around my ankles while I pull my robe tighter and breathe in bitter steam from a mug someone else gave me in high school, but I don't remember his name. * I wake up with a mouthful of teeth, but I didn't have any an hour ago and when tonight comes and I lie with the covers over my head they'll go away