Surprise your new wife with little gifts that remind her of her former home. A vial of sand. A puka shell necklace. Anything to placate her longings.
He began to talk, fast, as if he sensed, rightly, that his was a limited engagement; one that she might choose to end at any time. He told her he wanted her to go to Elena’s wedding with him. It would mean so much. That if she agreed to this one thing he wouldn’t bother her anymore. He’d stop asking her to give him another chance. He said he knows he doesn’t deserve it, but would she please go to Elena’s wedding with him?
He lies down and lets the rain
silhouette his form on the moist earth.
This is worship of a different order
bleeding stones to dye a river red.
The calendar is a snake scaled with
leaves flowing the long season.
To kiss the mind of winter throw snowballs
blown into wraiths by the wind.
Black holes staring from cairns and trees
invite the color of flaming rowan leaves.
With naked hands forge ice into stars
to constellate the day’s radiance.
Stone walls herd clouds of sheep
across history’s green acres.
Their wooliness a siege engine
of implacable fury.
He’s been around a lot lately, shaking his robes,
making monster faces at the children.
The wife finds him antipathetic.
I don’t mind him as much as everyone else;
I’ve known him a long time.
He used to visit me when I was a child,
dropping in unexpectedly.
His smell always put me off,
a blend of frankincense and rotting meat,
but that was foreseeable.
His voice is surprisingly high
for someone so dark and ominous.
I always wondered what it was
like to be him, in his rough black hood,
feared and despised. Was he ever lonely?
By Jacob Appel
A first pulse of memory: My father, broad-shouldered and dashing, sliding his arms into a long white coat that smells of bleach. It is springtime in St. Arnac, a balmy Sunday afternoon snowing crab-apple petals. We’ve parked in the physicians-only lot atop the roof of the hospital’s garage, the same hospital where, the previous Thanksgiving, my pregnant mother died of a ruptured uterus.