A man wakes up early Sunday morning. He makes coffee and takes his cup to the recliner. He listens to the sounds outside. Birds. Cars. Conversations growing louder, then softer still. The smell of freshly cut grass reminds him of a summer skirt with small, yellow flowers, of young taut legs walking, running, then lifting into the air, of dirty blond hair reflecting father sun. He finishes his coffee and goes to the front porch. He looks out past the screen door expecting to see her there, prancing among the flowers, but she has evaporated into a cloud of gnats. Slowly, an old Chinese woman pushes a small cart of bottles and cans through her. With ancient hands she swats at her, rubs her out of the left eye, spits her out with the bottom lip, and carries some of her away in her hair. After a second cup of coffee, the stomach acid begins to percolate, and the man takes his computer to the dining room table. He sees a cat hair hanging from the bottom of the screen, and asks politely: “Why are you here?” The cat hair replies cordially, “To give you something to think about.” The man moves his thumb over the cat hair and misses. “You see?” the cat hair says, “You’re thinking of it already.” The man tries again. “I do not need you.” he says. And the cat hair dislodges, floats up into the light, into the dust, then disappears. The man begins to write. Later, the woman walks in holding groceries. “It’s beautiful out there.” she says. “Yes.” he says, leaving his computer and helping her. “The sun looks like a halved baked potato.” “Let’s bring the butter outside then.” he says. “And the almond champagne.” she says. The man takes out the trash. The kitchen window is open, and he can hear the woman humming. He stands tall beside the trash bin, under the blue sky, and listens to her song as the alley cats circle his feet.
Nathaniel Sverlow is a freelance writer of poetry and prose. He was born in 1983 in San Diego, California and has since spent most of his time hunched over a laptop randomly pressing keys. He currently resides in the Sacramento area with four cats, two roommates, and one incredibly supportive wife.