After the Snowmelt
And the houses revealing their house-y shapes, and the people inside the houses putting on their coats in order to walk outside, the dirt on the roofs showing up. The dirt was always there, but looked dirtier now, more filled with sins and secrets. Everything that was packed down with snow, blowing free into the air, traveling who-knows-where and to God-knows-who and whatever happens when everyone finally sees it, finally hears it will just have to wait while everyone hopes that maybe the next snow will clap it back shut.
My Eyes Keep Looking for You
And, believe me, I’ve tried everything, bandages and shades. I’ve tried telling myself, you’ll look different. That all these months of you not loving me would have to make you change.
Maybe a beard. Or your new woman’s lipstick all over your neck.
My eyes have learned to stop blinking. They are afraid they will miss the fleet moment that you return, your senses back to normal.
Each night my eyes lead me to the closed venetian blinds. Make me peer through the slats at the yard, all dark with heartache. My eyes focus on our names carved on the maple tree lit up by the light of stars. My eyes fill themselves with tears.
One afternoon, the phone rings, and it’s you. I love you, you say. You come home and sprawl out like always. The couch remembers your angles. The walls remember your voice.
You aren’t different, after all. Your face is clean shaven, your neck scrubbed and bare. We eat dinner like we always did, clink of glass and clatter of plates, and when the sky goes dark, I clear the table.
My eyes still waiting to see the you I used to know.
Francine Witte’s stories are forthcoming in Best Small Fictions 2022 and Flash Fiction America (W.W. Norton). Her recent books are Dressed All Wrong for This (Blue Light Press), The Way of the Wind (AdHoc fiction), The Cake, The Smoke, The Moon (ELJ Editions) and Just Outside the Tunnel of Love (Blue Light Press). She is flash fiction editor for Flash Boulevard and The South Florida Poetry Journal. She lives in NYC.