I stand on the street corner of your old house, a dark and empty carapace vacated months ago, but I still see your ghost moving around, a shadow walking the halls one foot behind the other into your room, lying back on your bed and staying still as the hours fold back into themselves and the sun slips from west to east, the stars spinning in the wrong direction until the calendar reads a different day, a different month, a different year and time peels itself from my skin like thread looping backwards on a spool. I see a bird pulled back into its nest, into its egg, into its mother and watch my hair grow and shrink and grow in endless succession.

In the middle of summer you and I stand on a curb at dusk, your hands gripping my elbows. Your arms are holding me and we are leaning back—you falling into me and me attempting to hold you steady as your face momentarily becomes buried in the space between my shoulder and my neck and then comes up for air smiling. You take a step back from the curb, look at me for half a second and then walk backwards to the open door of your car. You lower yourself into the seat, key in the ignition, and I am pulling the seat belt across my body, my fingers catching on the hot metal under the August sun undoing itself until the street lights flicker and die, their dim amber glow hushed as dusk becomes golden hour becomes lazy afternoon when we are in your car driving up the freeway towards the streets and back up the road when the radio sings “…yaw eht ni gnihtemos…” and my reflection glances at myself in the side-mirror to make sure I look okay.

On a warm night in January, our bodies close beneath the broken streetlight, our hands slip from each other's backs, quick and gentle like we are afraid to touch and we take a mirrored step away from one another until I am in my car and you are in yours and we wave as I slip backwards into a turn that pulls me the way I came.

We are sitting on a bench as rain falls upwards into sky, caught in sunshine like meteors swallowed, burning into dim nothings, into atmosphere. We smile at each other and turn slowly away until we are looking in opposite directions sitting stiff side by side and the clouds shift and the rain stops and the sun warbles over us, dappled and eerie like water over sand.

I am walking one foot behind the other down a flight of stairs. Fall is reeled back into summer as you wipe sweat onto your brow and fall back into your bed where you lie motionless, eyes closed unaware of the shadows slipping down your walls. Twenty miles away I am sweating under my sheets, moisture seeping into pores. The ceiling fan rattles above me swirling the air counter-clockwise and the sun sinks below the hills pulling morning in the wrong direction only to let it reappear in the west, blazing and gasping for air.



Kathryn H. Ross is a California native who holds a Bachelor's Degree in English and Writing from Azusa Pacific University and is pursuing her Masters in English and Creative Writing at her alma mater. Her literary loves and influences are Ray Bradbury, J.K. Rowling, John Steinbeck, Edith Wharton, Rudolph Fisher, Edgar Allan Poe, Toni Morrison, & James Weldon Johnson, but they're just the tip of her iceberg. In her works, she tackles everything from spirituality and God to family relationships and race politics in America. Ross hopes to use her voice to begin important dialogues, bridge gaps, and foster compassion and empathy between writers, readers, friends, and strangers.

Darla Mottram