Matters of the Flesh
(Writer’s Digest’s Magazine Literary Short Story Competition, Honorable Mention)
She is golden, long-legged and covered with row silk. She thinks she wants her bikinis to be almost non-existent because all her girlfriends want them that way. She collects post-cards of young men in tight jeans, whose bare shoulders are dusted with light. She thinks nothing of riding in the back seat of the van and openly seeking out the eyes of men in the passing cars only to giggle if they turn their heads to catch a glimpse of her.
All God’s Animals
“Hey, man, it’s easy to get some ass in this city.”
Lester Dunbar hated this kind of talk. He punched the radio button with undue force. It’s this city, he thought, it’s like Sodom and Gomorrah and the people are like animals. He was sure someday God would put his holy fire to this hub of sin and burn it to the ground. Silence filled his car and he realized he did not really have that far to go. He was stuck in traffic on the 405. His next appointment was in Sherman Oaks, which was the next exit.
Things never change and never stay the same…
(Impressions from a journey to a planet I used to call home)
I have been treading on leaves all day until I am autumn tired.
God knows all the color and form of leaves I have trodden on and mired.
Perhaps I have put forth too much strength and been too fierce from fear.
I have safely trodden underfoot the leaves of another year
They spoke to the fugitive in my heart as if it were leaf to leaf.
They tapped at my eyelids and touched my lips with an invitation to grief.
But it was no reason I had to go because they had to go.
Now up my knee to keep on top of another year of snow.
– Robert Frost
I’m sitting next to my sister eating walnuts from a tree I remember being planted. It is now four stories high. Its fruit is moist, cream-white and very sweet. I can’t stop reaching into the wooden bowl for one morsel after another. The walnut tree is the only thing which is bigger than I remember. Everything else has shrunk. Including my sister and her world as well. We used to be able to talk for hours about everything under the sun and compare experiences. Now the sun shines only on her grand children and local politics. Granted, my grand nephews and nieces are adorable and it is fascinating to watch the birth pains of capitalism and democracy in Poland, but there are Bosnia, Korea, and the Middle East, not to mention overpopulation, hunger, and the greenhouse effect; a larger reality which affects our lives. I occasionally feel impatient and restless, trapped in this small world. Perhaps in the larger world the issues are too many, and the reality is too large and too complex. Perhaps what she is unwittingly doing is paring it down to a manageable size. She was always solid, much better grounded in the immediate world than I. Opposite to her I may be labeled a drifter. Never sure who I am or where I belong. So who am I to judge?