Creative Non-Fiction

crackthespineFrom Crack the Spine #52, and Spring Anthology 2013, Framed Beside Her:

Funny… not so funny… how my father, always the evangelical atheist, never mentioned that someday down the line, when I truly needed a spot of faith, a few shots of tequila might have to suffice: sole diversion to the plainness of facts.  When he meets my flight from Berkeley, his familiar smell of aftershave and White Owl Tips is at first oddly comforting, but straight off, with no warm-up, he says, “Those damned books.  They all say to be peaceful, but what the hell good is that right now?  I hope you’ll encourage her to fight this thing.”  Then he adds, “She’s never fought.”

“…Rage, rage, against the dying of the light.”

“Damn right.”

“When she can’t take a full breath?”

“Ah, hell,” he snapped…

big bridge
From Big Bridge #17, Yo—Dad:

I remember standing beside him in our driveway, he in his unbelted terrycloth robe and sagging Fruit of the Looms, crouched slightly with gritted teeth, waving like hell as the last of my jock crew pulled away for the green pastures of college.  He looked certifiable there, my Dad did, crouched like a spider, his wiry frame glistening with the series of tissue-thin scars he’d gotten from being near-electrocuted by a third rail as a kid.  Actually, if I put myself fully back there, he was more likely pumping his fist, taunting that final bud to “Come on back—take on the Ol’ Geezer one last time.”  Deep down, I think he was eager to be rid of my friends, relieved that I had put off college for a year so he, in his new retirement, could put in some quality time with his only son, bequeath me with his version of higher ed.

My bud’s station wagon tipped the crest of the hill, for a moment defying gravity, and as it did I was surprised by the wave of anxiety that washed over me.  We were suddenly alone—just me and him…

Stealing TimeFrom ‘Stealing Time Celebrations,’ Winter 2013, Whatever Helps Gravity:

I can’t remember exactly what Mia and I were arguing about the evening of our first birthing class when, determined to look dutiful, I jumped into my Toyota and peeled off alone.  Something to do with our therapist having described me as a “loner”, I think.  Anne, of course, had couched it as favorably as could be, as if she was naming my astrological sign, or referring to a hobby.  Mia wasn’t so delicate.  “If it hadn’t occurred to you, this togetherness stuff could be fun!

In class, I kept my eyes off the cozying couples surrounding me and waited for instructions.  We had been given dolls to re-diaper, but since I’d arrived late I’d wound up with a gaping-mouthed thing with a small field of scalp-punctures where hair was supposed to be…