Two Prose Poems
    Sherrie Flick

Pie Inside

She was angry again. He could hear her banging pots and pansóslamming cupboards, the way she did when she wasnít in a forgiving mood. He snuck out the back, went for a long walk up in the hills. The clouds were converging and then rolling away, dark and dramatic like an opera. He walked until the first tiny star peered down at him, suspicious. By the time he got home, the place was silent. He stood on the front porch. The automatic light clicked onóa spotlight. His show was about to begin, but heíd forgotten his lines. Through the window, he could see the pie inside on the table. Not an effort of love. He could see the pie. He opened the door and tiptoed in.


And Then

Sitting drunk on the musty couch on the screened-in porch. The night noises come clunking. A train, night construction down far away on the highway. Moist plants — tomatoes and pansies, marigolds. Itís all there. The glasses Iíve placed on a shelf — a collection, lined up like soldiers. They glow the longer my drunk prevails. And then he comes in — the lover who isnít so fresh and new anymore. The lover whose habits have become, well, air. The life merging with mine. He comes with the bottle of wine. Itís the second bottle; the same as years before with another lover who has since become simply the memory of a second bottle of wine, late at night. Weíre drunk, lulling ourselves into one another. No surprises. And thereís the cat. Curled up and purring for once — for once a saint of a cat. No tearing up curtains or clawing like a timepiece on the door. Just purring, curled with her sides expanding like fast little bellows. And he looks out into the dark night, looks at the cat, looks at me with his eyes matching the sparkling city lights that we canít see from here. He sits down, hand sliding slowly onto my knee, cat in between. Thereís a patient stretch of silence. "I love this cat," he suddenly says arms extended toward the catís incomprehensible face. Itís a night of miracles. He doesnít love the cat, although he has tried. And as if in a brief act of gratitude, the cat purrs louder. And I stare at the glasses some more — the way the outdoor sounds combine with the candle flickering on the table — off the glass then glass then glass. He says, "I love you, too." He snuggles into me then, like a boy, and I nestle him in like the son Iíll never have. And the cat is nudged from its half-sleep and walks patiently to the kitchen to crunch food. She will stick her paw into her water bowl and lick — paw-lick-paw-lick. Everything sways and then returns in my head. And Iím in love. There, that night, as much as I possibly know how to be — bursting at the seams love — suddenly, without preamble. And the sounds go on, and the sky is falling in, and happiness seems possible — pure, sweet, uncluttered.



Sherrie Flick has had fiction published in North American Review, Black Warrior Review, Puerto del Sol, Quick Fiction, and Prairie Schooner, among others. She was recently included in the anthology Sudden Stories: A Mammoth Anthology of Minuscule Fiction (Mammoth Press, 2003). She spent this past May as a resident at the Ucross Foundation. Under normal circumstances, she lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where she runs the Gist Street reading series and is Associate Curator of Education for an art museum.


 
 
 
 

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