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Contents Page: July, 2010, vol 6 no 2

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Renee Owen

Taillights

Rain keeps coming, drops the size of walnuts clunk and clatter, beating hard on the tin roof. Smell of mold mingling with salt of sea. Fever tosses and turns her on the tiny metal bed, sweat dripping off her brow, black streaks of eye make-up trickle in rivulets down her wattled neck. Creak of rickety ceiling fan tap dances on my taut nerves. I swore I’d never be back, but like the rain, keep coming, if I ever really left. Waiting for her to wake, whir of mosquitoes, buzzing all night, warm wind howling through chinks in cabin walls, age rimming her eyes and mouth like crabgrass on a too green city lawn. Such grand visions I’d had. Towards morning the storm eases. Smudges of wan grey light against the cracked and grimy glass pressing me into sleep, until birds begin their song. She sleeps deeply, chest barely moving. I rise, check her pulse. Not fluttering out, not yet. Even with a fever, her leathery skin cool to the touch, I wait and wonder. When death comes, will I flee? Or run straight towards it with open arms, the way I long now to shed my fancy shoes and run barefoot through her garden one last time.

                                      red clouds...
                                      the taillights of her
                                      Greyhound bus
                                      leave me with nothing
                                      but longing

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