And just like that, it emerged with a kind of crackle, my chest becoming like crumbs, emerging like a dark soft head through a fractured wall that had gone unnoticed, breaking through slow but sudden, while wall and everything stable in the hushed core of my body collapsed, and the hollowness of shock was less for the collapse itself as it was for the fact that that was all it took, that lifting of my one index finger on my one wheel-gripping hand while veering onto Parker Road and its jagged winter-slits, that twist of the sedan over grayed concrete and torn newspaper folds, for its dark soft head to break through, wrapped in Tuesday-morning thoughts and a nod at the pale sky and pupils paused in the direction of a maple, tied carelessly in branches that curled like calligraphy (those words, yes) and in the exhale of a remark with steadiness, with certainty, that yes, he would like that image very much, would compare it (the pomegranate taste on his tongue) to the wiggled reaching of his boys’ hands for the hem of his shirt, would squint past tree curlicues with his head sagged at a thirty-degree angle, would flinch (pomegranate soured) at the bareness of sky and its semblance to Nevada’s hated dust, hated for the miles it stretched between boy-hands and father-shirts, until finally the steady breathe-out and the crackle in my chest came with the darkness and softness of shame’s rising face, shaking at me here because how else had his fragments (gestures, would-be reflections) become intimate to me, except that I had sketched them a thousand times in my mind, had memorized each movement like prayers, and feeling pitted with the loss of that wall and full with the shaking of that head, I clenched the steering wheel and turned hard into the realization of my blunder, that -- like maple branches -- I had engraved him into myself.


Emma is a part-writer, part-musician, fully-fledged old soul and professional cloud-watcher who spends too much time drinking tea and fangirling over YouTube gamers. Among other publications, she is a two-time contributor at Writers Get Together and has tried her hand at blogging. You can view her pathetic attempts here: