Dear Jesse: An Outline
I. Assessment of your admiration
it seems, understand you.
i. Under all our
nice linens we are a morose bunch.
II. Theories on your admiration.
a. Has your woman done you wrong?
the summer left you in this way of looking at the world
as if it is a
c. Are you glad, so glad, so glad, etc?
III. Thoughts on Skip James
too, am so glad, so glad, so glad, etc.
What Is Happening with Me
I. Joining the circus.
Have you ever seen those women in tassels and hot pants
that have to run in place on the giant white spheres?
i. They get
ii. and wear an
arrangement of fruit on their heads,
iii. and those
c. Don't worry.
d. I'm not doing that.
Dottie tells me
i. I am a big
plate of fire served with a side of fire
covered in fire.
b. Do I get to choose what kind?
i. What do you
mean by kind?
ii. I mean will I
be a fire for marshmallows or widows
or witches or Yuletide logs? Cold
hands held out
like stop in a brick alleyway? Autumn leaves in a
iii. None of the
above, Dottie says.
It's really best to keep flammable things a safe distance
i. Which makes me
thankful you're still a
creates a need to repent
i. Wear woolen
ii. Read in
iii. Write nice,
nice letters to anyone I have recently
clobbered in the face.
dreading February, such a sadness I feel.
ii. A tooth
trying to split your gums open—this is
IV. Small pains
i. Tooth loses
root, but I grow some, and growing
earns another pain.
ii. A pain unnamed
Regret: attempts to avoid.
i. This is
another kind of pain.
ii. And failing
to avoid regret is yet another.
remember something about the light
have not often seen the top of your head.
i. or parts of
you scattered around like a tiny crowd.
II. The floor of our bedroom at Jeremy's house
could never understand who had lived here before us
who might come later.
i. For that, I
walked out of your house while I was still waiting on
an eventual car
i. Woman driver;
a baby boy sleeper.
made a little smile that I could only feel from that
i. Seeing with my
eyes isn't something I do well.
IV. Small Demands, unmeetable
Jesse, let's find more animals in the ocean
i. The stingray
we could see from the cliff.
ii. The seals
that couldn't be bothered.
iii. A school of
b. How do we make time sympathize?
i. Hold a knife
to its neck.
ii. Close eyes
V. Small dangers, remembered
Let's get trapped in the ravine again.
i. The rock slide
ii. We tore at
each other to face our fear of being torn.
VI. A woman we loved.
was made of ether and rosemary.
could read our smoggy brains just by looking,
cooked us breakfast like a mother.
she still live, too?
Catherine Lacey's fiction has appeared recently in 52 Stories, elimae, matchbook and Trnsfr. She and seven others run 3B, a bed
and breakfast in Brooklyn.
Detail of photo art on main page courtesy
W i g l e a f