Gail Louise Siegel
There are two drawers of knives, forks, spoons. She uses the thin, bent
utensils, giving her children the better set, as if they will savor its
smoothness and heft against their lips. As if they'll be grateful.
She's listening to the radio, making pancakes, when the traffic report
starts. A rollover on I-94 with four teenagers dead. She thinks of her
daughter's friends in pine boxes, the crowded wakes, the animal
wailing. She dreads it; she longs for it. As if another child's death
will improve the odds, protect her own.
There's an unopened box of poker chips on her son's top shelf, a
graduation gift. She doesn't unwrap it, or offer it in a rumpled paper
sack when the monthly truck collects used clothes and board games. If
she tosses the box, he will never return.
A van backs out of her neighbor's driveway hauling the wife's
possessions: a spinet, bird cages, wardrobes. Three of ten, four of
ten, now five of ten homes had looked happy, were not. She
re-calculates her marriage's chances: better than even.
She's passed fifty, and against expectation, isn't dead yet. Others are
gone: cancer, more cancer. She imagines trips: toes dipped in wild
streams, landmarks seen through rectangular, tinted windows. Years
left, less the chance of adventure. She works through the equation.
Gail Louise Siegel's fiction and nonfiction have
appeared in lovely places like Brevity, Story Quarterly, 3:AM, Quick
Quarterly and Post
To link to this story directly: http://wigleaf.com/200808math.htm
Photo detail on main page courtesy
of Ruthven 78.
w i g · l e a F