Something More Familiar
Mel Bosworth

I asked her, could you please hand me an apricot? She said it's time you believe.
When it rains in November the air looks white. I kept the window open a few inches so I could hear the traffic go by. She hung a painting on the wall. Her shirt came up. Her lower back looked soft and clean. She asked, what are you thinking? I said I like the painting.
A young woman. Cloudy. Gray. Emerging from whiteness.
The rain came down. The windowsill was dry. I wondered if I'd ever walk again.

Before, I was cutting wood. The motor of the chainsaw was warm against my thigh. Before, it wasn't raining. The briars curled around my ankles, ripped at my socks. Before, my boots were too big. My toes pushed at empty spaces. Before, I flipped a log from the brush. Before that, I imagined myself carrying the log over my shoulder. Someone shot me in the back. I cried out. I went down on one knee. Then two. Deer I hadn't seen scattered to my right, far off. Footfalls broke twigs to my left, far off. It grew quiet. I lay down, shadows of birds and branches flicking the sunlight from my eyes.
The day let itself drift. She lit a candle and placed it below the painting. She looked at the painting. I looked too. I said the texture reminds me of childhood. She said it reminds her of water, of swimming. She lay beside me, humming.
Later, we woke. The sound of the rain was replaced by a feeling of something else, something more familiar. She screamed, jumped from the bed.
I explained there were no mice. We ate buttered toast by the window.