THE PEOPLE YOU MEET IN HEAVEN
Greg approached the curly gates and faced a mob of angry faces at the entrance.
“St. Peter,” he said, “I don’t understand. I’ve always been kind and courteous to everyone I met. Who are all these folks?”
“They’re the people you flipped off on the highway.”
I LOVE YOU, MOM
Mom would make up bedtime stories; there were five of us, so every story had five characters. We loved the silly adventures our counterparts went on, and would prod Mom awake when she began to doze off. The poor woman just wanted to sleep, but we never doubted that she loved us.
She’d made it her mission to find her prince among the frogs. Green, red, spotted frogs… she’d kissed them all, then- not knowing what else to do- had made a menagerie to keep them. When she found her prince, he refused to bring the frogs to the castle, so she dumped him.
I pull out and drive around the bend. Three deer bound across my path. I slow, and one of them stops to stare; assured of safety, it runs to catch up with the others. Preoccupied as I usually am with human concerns, it’s times like these that remind me, we are the intruders here.
“Winning at tic-tac-toe has nothing to do with game strategy.”
“What do you mean, Dad?”
“If both players know what they’re doing, they’ll always tie.”
“So I should only play with kids dumber than me?”
“Not dumber, just distractible. Your move.”
“Hey! Now you’re gonna win!”
A birthday pie was better than a birthday cake. Janelle had always thought so, but her attempts to alter tradition fell flat every year. Until the day she gave birth to her first child, born on March 14th. Her family didn’t know what to do: which tradition should they follow now?
She blew her nose into the tissue, and tossed it into the wastebasket next to her bed. How ironic, that she should be treating the tissues just like he had treated her.
Look into my eyes-
What do you see?
Puddles gray and shallow
Or pools of blue and deep?
Study my face-
If you care to explain,
Are my features fine and handsome,
Or are they merely plain?
Isn’t it ironic
That the bodies we inhabit
Are the only ones we’ll never truly see?
In the chapel, someone stifled a sneeze. “God bless you,” came the reply from the pulpit. Then another person sneezed. Then another. A stream of “bless yous” ensued, disrupting the original program. But every last parishioner was determined to receive their pastor’s favor.
Youth is wasted on the young.
Wisdom comes too late.
A life half-lived is half-begun-
Still we sit, and hope, and wait.
Old wishes die upon the tongue,
Their flavor stale upon the plate.
Better a life of glory sung,
Though we tremble ‘neath the weight.
I’m standing in your driveway,
Trying to think of what to say
In reply to what you said yesterday:
You told me I would have to pay
If I dared to get in your way.
Did you mean forever, or just today?
We’ve been stuck here for hours.
“You. You’ll do.”
I swallow hard as the marine leads me down the dim corridor. My palms sweat and I wipe them on my skirt. He gives me a small plastic bottle of eye drops.
“My hands are too big. Can you open this and help me put them in my eyes?”
JUST LIKE US
The archaeologists stared at the inscription upon the chamber wall. This could be it- their entry into the history books.
“You read Contorian?”
“The first word is a name…is a…no, that can’t be right.”
“Well, roughly translated, the last word means poopy pants.”
NEXT TIME BRING WATER
His hands were sticky. I wiped at the juice with a tissue, but then it stuck to his fingers. We had no water. I sighed and sent him off to play, cringing every time his gripped the slide ladder rail, or reached up to swing on the monkey bars. Ah, to be blissfully ignorant again.
THIS IS TOTALLY SCIENTIFIC
News spread that Earth was slowly breaking out of its orbit. All the human population gathered on the eastern hemisphere, and jumped together, several times, before collapsing in a heap. Had they fixed it? They weren’t sure, but many swore they felt the planet spinning faster.
I still wear my grandma’s apron when I bake; I hear her voice in my head, giving me tips and encouragement- the scent of her fills my nostrils. The apron’s front is caked with years of accumulated grease and flour, but I don’t dare to wash it; the magic might disappear…
Meeting another lefty is weird: “Hey! Cool! So, right-handed scissors…” “I know, right? And the one left-handed mitt in PE?” “There were four of us who had to fight over it!” “Can you write backwards?” “Heck yeah!” And so on, for ~10 minutes. Then we never talk about it again.