Gone Lawn
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Gone Lawn 36
Spring Equinox, 2020

Featured artwork, Broken Tulip, by Andrew Davis.

New Works

Anu Kandikuppa

Lexicon of Wife of Man with a Wandering Eye

twitch       NOUN

1.   brief spasmodic movement in corner of husband's eye when a girl of a certain description is near.

— Example of usage

The husband and the wife are standing in line for tickets at the movie theater. A girl in jeans and crop top stands in front of them with some young people. The husband is looking at a poster but when the girl throws her head back and laughs, his eye exhibits a twitch.

swivel       VERB

1.   rotate (husband's) neck towards girl in a movement that usually follows a twitch.

The girl continues to laugh. The husband swivels his neck towards her as surely as if she had reeled him in.


1.   NOUN: (husband's) act of directing his gaze towards girl

2.   VERB: to give a look

The husband returns to his poster but the wife has already seen his look.

The wife never misses a look.

The wife can see the husband look even when her back is turned.

The wife has been waiting for years for the husband to do more than look.

object       NOUN

1.   something physical (the girl) toward which husband's thoughts, feeling, and action are directed.

The wife has had plenty of opportunity to study the objects of the husband's wandering eye and knows what they have in common.

The objects are between twenty and thirty years old.

The objects look clever and are vivacious.

The objects are the opposite of the wife in every way.

For example the object at the theater is wearing a trendy white top while the wife is wearing a long, flowered top.

The objects pay the husband absolutely no attention.

manifest       VERB

1.   be evidence of, prove

By now the wife knows all the ways in which the husband's fixation will manifest, all the signs of animation in his hitherto slack body. He will swell up and smooth his hair. He will stand tall. He will lick his lips.

disgust       VERB

1.   to provoke loathing, repugnance, aversion

When the husband reaches for her with new excitement that night, the wife will feel disgusted.

fantasy       NOUN

1.   (the wife's) imaginative fiction featuring especially strange settings and grotesque characters

To get back at the husband the wife has fantasies about other men.

One fantasy features the sad, weird man who stopped the wife in the park one evening and asked if he could ask her out.

In this fantasy the wife rides astride the sad, weird man on his bicycle, her tanned legs stark against his pale thighs.

resentment   NOUN

1.   the wife's feeling of strong ill will towards the girl.

They shuffle forward in the line. The girl continues to laugh. She is trying to get the attention of a boy in her group and is oblivious of the comic duo of the man and the woman looking at her. The wife is filled with resentment for the girl and glares at her then reminds herself that it is not her fault. She feels sad for them all, for wanting to be with someone else.

genetic       ADJECTIVE

1.   relating to or determined by the origin, development, or causal antecedents of something

The wife wonders if looking at girls is genetic: some men look and some do not? She remembers feeling uncomfortable with the way the husband's father looked at her on their wedding day. She is glad they do not have a son. If they had a son, the son and the father would both be standing here looking at the girl.

research       NOUN

1.   the wife's collecting of information on the subject of wandering eyes

The wife's diligent research revealed an article by researchers at Duke University who found that the eyes of male rhesus monkeys are inexorably drawn to the hindquarters of female rhesus monkeys, the flashing of which signals that they are available. Like the other articles and forums on the Internet, this article suggests that it is normal for men's eyes to wander. This makes the wife angry.

adultery       ABSTRACT NOUN

1.   what the wife is sure the husband will soon commit

No amount of looking at girls counts as adultery so the wife is waiting patiently for the husband to do more than look. She is sure she will soon find a lipstick-stained hanky in his pocket, a hennaed hair on his blazer, a contact for "Jack" in his phone.

The wife does not know that the husband will never do more than look. In reality the girls scare the husband. He admires the nerve of men who commit adultery — how do they do it? As if for the first time, he notices the quiet woman walking next to him. He sees her blank face and her flowered, ruffled blouse. He thinks how ghastly the blouse is and wonders what on earth made her buy it. He wonders why she looks so sad at a movie. Then he realizes the woman is his wife.

Anu has stories published or forthcoming in Calyx, Epiphany, Jellyfish Review, Juked, Salt Hill, The Florida Review, The Normal School and other journals. Her work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and the Best of the Net anthology. She holds an MFA from the Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College and worked as an economics consultant in a former life. Find her on Twitter @anukandikuppa