Gone Lawn
a journal of literature
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Gone Lawn 34
Autumnal Equinox, 2019

New Works

Steven Genise

Harvesting Marsh Grass


A woman came running around the corner with an empty stroller and parked it right in the fall zone of a second story barred window, as if she expected her baby to come crashing through, breaking bars and glass and drapes, and land perfectly safe and sound into the cushions.

When no such baby arrived, she turned around and left slowly the way she came.

Some Things I Saw While Picking Up My Wife from Therapy

1.    A Sunday morning lawyer's office painted matte black with two signs: One an otherwise professional-looking plastic sign advertising for divorce, and the other a neon tube in the shape of a broken heart, which I thought was in poor taste.
2.    A spot of lingering fog on the passenger window where her breath had condensed, and a smudge where her temple rested.
3.    A truck advertising the world's longest basmati rice.
4.    A game I'm playing on my phone where there are a million little dots that swirl around each other in great clouds and swarms, and with your finger you swipe a wind current to carry them home.
5.    I swipe, and two clouds combine and form a pattern that my brainstem announces is venomous. A primary-on-primary clash of a hundred staring eyes, a lotus seed head.
6.    My own breath, now heavier, condensing in the air at the sudden emergent pattern.
7.    The pattern disappearing as the dots go home, and my breath normalizing.
8.    My wife opening the door, leaning her head against that smudge on the window so that her breath re-animates the foggy spot that had almost disappeared.
9.    That same truck advertising the world's longest basmati rice as we pull up behind it at a light.

Day for Night

He's awake again, and the apartment with barely any furniture is plated in silver. He navigates his way to the sink and takes water, and the phlegm in the back of his throat recedes, but only briefly, and then it comes back and he chokes on it, and he's stuck there in that space between the back of his tongue and the top of his throat.

Through the crack in the door, he sees her lying on her back with the old thin dog curled up in the cradle between her knees. He thinks about how directors sometimes shoot scenes day for night with a blue filter over the lens, even though the world is silver at night but somebody, somewhere, decided blue and so now blue is night.

He goes into the bathroom and the laminate is cold through his socks. The edge of the counter helps him to sit down on the toilet and helps him to stand back up again when he's done.

On the wall there's a painting called Harvesting Marsh Grass, which they bought together I don't know how long ago. It's not a painting of people harvesting marsh grass, but a painting of the words harvesting marsh grass on an otherwise blank canvass, insisting certain realities present or otherwise.

Shutting off the light and he's blind in the black. He feels his way back to the bed and the dog yelps as he lies down on her paw.

Steven Genise writes: "My flash fiction has appeared in After the Pause, forthcoming in Crack the Spine, and my fiction has appeared in Natural Bridge and others. I am the fiction editor for Cascadia Magazine and was shortlisted for Epiphany's 2016 Best Under 30 Award."