Gone Lawn
a journal of literature
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Gone Lawn 4
Summer, 2011

Featured painting, Steakhouse Grand Opening, by Daniel Dove.

Featured Excerpt & Review

Michelle Reale


Always, too much wine. So there was that. Revolutions were sprouting like weeds, in a corner of the world. I began having trouble with my eyes. Objects appeared larger than what they really were. We talked in circles, most of the time. He became specific when he drank. He pointed a finger at me: My democracy is not your democracy. He would stand for nothing less than agreement. Food separated and congealed on plates like small colonies, only to my eyes, they took over the world. Rough faced waiters stood with arms crossed, their voices menacing, and their words inscrutable. I told him how delicious the tomatoes were, though I used his word for them, pomodori. Not like the ones at home, I added. His face registered disgust. Home, he said, using the same inflection of my voice. The wine was so warm. You have no idea what you are talking about, he said. Then he slapped his knee and smiled so I let it pass. The bread had gone hard in the orange basket. We dipped it in our wine and sucked. The sweat on our faces looked like nothing but desire. You don't know what they have the patience to put you through, he said. I had sympathies of my own, but needed a language to express them. Can you speak for me, I asked. He waved me off, scratched the back of his neck with his finger. Done. The waiters dragged chairs across the floor screeching and he greeted them like brothers. They lit their cigarettes, their heads of curly hair touching one another. There was no handbook for their elaborate hand gestures. A carafe of wine crashed to the floor, and then another. The bells chimed lightly as I opened the door and stepped into the evening. My own shadow loomed large, eclipsing me. My eyes stung. It could have been from the cigarette smoke rising, hovering in that small room. Or something different altogether.

Michelle Reale is an academic librarian on faculty at a university in the suburbs of Philadelphia. She was included in Dzanc's Best of the Web 2010. Her chapbook Natural Habitat was published by Burning River Press in 2010.