When Sydney Cahill’s father died
& left a hole,
she went through that hole,
discovering a door to another dimension—
where she could revisit her childhood:
when her father had written
the Wacky Wildlife series
that had delighted his “little women,”
before her mother, the illustrator,
had lost the gift of capturing those characters
in earthy & metallic hues,
before her hometown had become
a ghost town.
Like a backdoor poet,
she crossed over that threshold—
not as an observer,
but as a participant.
When the memories of her childhood
during those moments
began to disappear,
replaced with her adult memories of them,
she realized that she had to leave her past,
for she was stealing the memories
from the little girl she had once been.
Evan Trotter’s Alma Mater
He had been known as the Big Mac on Campus,
always quoting himself
& speaking of himself in the third person,
of literature & philosophy,
& being both a public & private nuisance,
But when he met the humble scholar
who didn’t give him the time of day—
unless it was a.m. or p.m.—
in her shiny little clock face,
his sizeable width & lack of depth,
his attitude that had been one of latitude
& the tiny town he had thought
would someday be his
that could not be found on any map,
treasure or otherwise.
It was then that he knew
that the little magna cum laude
with the mechanical pencil
piercing her messy bun—
whose I.Q. equaled her E.I.—
was not the woman he wanted
but the woman he wished had wanted him.
The little stranger who lived with her,
who spoke not her mind
but to it,
the little stranger who lived inside her,
whose name was predestined
to be Evan or Emma,
& the tallish, lightish, & unconventionally handsome stranger
who lay beside her,
comprised the strangeness that had become her life.
She stared at the shiny face in the fogged-up bathroom mirror,
whose gray-dawn hair smelled of strawberry shampoo.
Through the mist,
she saw the face of the person she was now
but who would be a stranger ten years from now.
It was like looking into the past
from the future,
for this woman who stared strangely back at her
would be gone then;
every cell in her body would be different.
When she looked at pictures from ten years ago—
before the two little strangers
& the stranger who had given them to her—