... I stayed quiet and thought about how just that morning I had gone down and looked out the window at the river and thought it was strange that in the last two weeks Sharon had come home late each night, arriving after dinner, appearing in the driveway with perfectly fine excuses, saying the train was late, or there was traffic on the bridge. (Did she not know that I could see the bridge and the traffic, and looked at it in a habitual manner most days, glancing over there when I went down to the shore to examine the wall, worrying over the fact that it was crumbling, wondering how much weight the grass and sod and soil made pushing against the structure while, at the same time, worrying over the potential cost of repair, imagining the mason digging it all out, building some kind of temporary support wall, laying new rebar, framing it up, and then somehow getting a cement truck—Concrete, Sharon corrected me when I verbalized my worry one night. Not cement, it’s concrete—down into the yard?) Other excuses she gave included irate clients, or long-winded partner conferences she had to attend because she was hell-bent on making partner as soon as possible. I’m hugely aware, I said, of the weird feeling I have about you and your work in relation to me and my position here as at-home caregiver, and sometimes I have to admit, I sit at the window and follow you to work in my imagination. Now don’t get me wrong, I cherish this time with Gunner and I’m happy to be doing this, but, still, I feel strange about it at times, I said, while she pursed her lips and fixed me with her gaze, which included really fine, deep, dark, big eyes in a face that was smooth with lean cheekbones and a fine, fine nose. A fucking Helen of Troy face, I used to think. The kind of face that would start a war if you let it. And it did, eventually. I’d like to start a war, I used to think, seeing her face. I want to start something big and historic in her name. I want a monument to be built in honor of the torment her face creates in my fellow men. (I think I sensed—those mornings of window gazing—that she was being sucked into Manhattan. The pull of it was apparent to me in the jaunt, the sway of her hips as she skipped out to the car each morning. It appeared in the way she held her chin softly in her fingers, playing them out in a thoughtful manner as she listened to me describe my day while a slight—albeit graceful—incomprehension filled her eyes. All that beauty gave her a density that was prone to the pull of the city, I thought, I think.) Those mornings, with Gunner upstairs asleep—the soft sea-hiss snooze of his breath coming through the baby monitor—I sometimes had that deep, sensual foreboding that came when I thought too much about the short term and the way Gunner’s days, still fresh and new, his life just starting, stood logarithmically in relation to my own thirty years. A day was one small fragment of my life, and a day for him was a much larger piece of the pie. One day now is a big hunk of his five years on earth, I used to think, I think.
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Susan Barbour, Insomnia
Stephen Dunn, Sea Level
Nicanor Parra, Defense of Violeta Parra
Rowan Ricardo Phillips, Heralds of Delicioso Coco Helado
John Jeremiah Sullivan, The Princes: A Reconstruction
Leanne Shapton and Ben Schott, Prose Purple