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Poem of the Week
in front of my car
frightened and pale
like a ghost
or a cat I thought
of hiss and fur
the space between dead and not
a tiny heart pounding on
a quiet roadside
I thought about it
later at home peering out
the kitchen window
wondering between drags why
it bothers leaving the house
Story of the Week
THE LAST TIME I saw Joe was the day before my family moved to Florida. It was March 1979. I was eight. Joe was ten. In the small Wisconsin town we lived in and were leaving, the snow was still three feet deep or more. The whole world was white, dead looking when the sky was gray, sparkling and blindingly bright when the sky was clear blue.
I wanted it to be gray that day. We were leaving, after all. But everywhere I looked the white lawns and icy trees sparkled like cutlery. It was beautiful, and as quiet as held breath, waiting for an old story to end and a new one to begin.
Everyone was busy inside the house with final preparations. I was the youngest and had nothing to do but get ready to jump in the van with my sisters, brother, and parents for the two-day drive from Wisconsin to Florida.
I was standing outside in the middle of our rarely traveled street, just looking at everything. Even that young, the moment meant something. It was between-worlds time, highly charged with sentiment and expectation. But children think more deeply than we imagine once we grow up and forget.
Graphic of the Week
Author of the Week
"That'll be $4827.56," Mabeline says to the garlok standing in front of her. The garlok grumbles something in his native tongue, something like "Ook glock blan che" as he hands her his Visa card. Translatortron instantly deciphers the garlok's muckspeak: "Thank you, kind stranger," it merrily says, "You make my ancestors proud."
In the kitchen, Joey is already grilling the burgers, chopping the onions and frenching the fries. His tattooed-on happy clown face doesn't waver, not even for a yoctosecond, not even as grease spatters from the Fry-O-Matic machine freckling his goofy grinning grimace with boiling hot oil.
At the register, the garlok ejects a thick yellow stream of goo from his upper left ventricle; an action that, in garlok, is a sign of appreciation. Mabeline is soaked from head to toe in the foul smelling liquid, all the while maintaining that friendly How-may-I-help-you-today? smile of hers.
Joey passes the food through the metal slot separating the kitchen from the front. Mabeline hands the garlok his supper. The entire process takes less than a minute.
"Oob non ban tee," he says. "May the light from a thousand suns bless you," Translatortron interprets.