Albertsons on Sunday

The air is fresh
and cold for Las Vegas.

Sun blaring I can
just make out
the bumble bee

yellow Volkswagen
Beetle parked in the
spot opposite mine.

It is an original –
the back windows above
a vanity plate
that says

TXSkier are covered
in those black and
white oval stickers
with the abbreviations

of places. I watch
the old man in a
navy vet baseball

cap and thick glasses
struggle with the
non plastic substitue
bags that he is carrying
in for a fleeting instant

while I lock my car.

In the candy aisle a
woman is enthusiastically
helping a different old man
pick out the flavor of

potato chips that
would be best suited
for his Granddaughter.

He thanks her, she waves
goodbye and tells him
to have a wonderful
day.

He makes a noise, a satisfied
sigh of sorts that reminds me
of my Papa Reno.

I toss my items their
basket, a temporary
new home.

The vanilla cocoanut
milks are the heaviest
(I always get two)
but it’s Sunday and I
have the day off so

who cares. In line
the old man with the
navy vet hat and bumble
bee yellow Volkswagen
beetle stands behind

me.

“I noticed your car
and I think it is
wonderful.”

I tell him with a smile.

“It is an original. I
have had her since 1960.
The company I worked for
in Memphis, Tennessee would

use those cars as company
cars to take clients
through the forest because
they were easier than trucks.

This engine has 400,000 miles
on it. It is the third engine
in the car.”

“My second Volkswagen had
to have the transmission
replaced. It took five weeks

for them to ferry one over
from Germany. The first one
was space ship blue with

zebra seat covers. His
name was Lennon. We had lots
of adventures.”

I notice that this man
also has two
vanilla coconut milks.

We say goodbye. I have
rare, fleeting moments
sometimes where everything

I thought I lost is
still everywhere

in the most settled
of

ways.

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Belinda Carlisle

They are both
classically trained
piano players.

I watch them
with a glittering
Christmas tree,

fat with tradition
and sparkling wonder
in the background.

“Have you ever heard
the song Heaven is a
Place on Earth?” She

asks. “Sure.”

They both start
to play the song
together on the

piano. We spent
two days and a
night together and

there was no pain.

There was no separation.
Just music and games,
presents and laughs.

I wish I could call up
my social worker from
2002 and tell her

what a beautiful story
we turned out to be.
Chicago is freezing and

gray as ever. The city is
beautiful in it’s monsterous
form I guess. There is a

Dunkin Donuts on every corner
and that’s nice but
the brightest light

plays the piano
with my Husband
in the living room

of her
childhood.

Winter

When she was
about three we
went to the

zoo. I cried
for a day and
a half after

that. It felt
like what splitting
in two and

leaving the other
half would feel
like.

That was 13
years ago. I
am a functional

adult about her
Christmas presents
arriving on time
this year and it

is extra special,
as I get to
see her. She is a

teenager and
I still am
most of the time
too but

we make the
best of it
the
best we can.

I am insecure.
I can’t decide
what we should

do together. or who
and how I am supposed
to be. I’m on

messenger asking
my sister her
opinion and

that splitting
feeling suddenly

returns. Who am I?

Who
is
she?

On what it is to heal

Standing over the
hot pan stirring

the Parmesan into
the red sauce. Entirely
too much garlic.

The cat flicks
his giant white
tail beside me.

My husband wraps
his arms around

my waist. Kisses
my cheek. I raise
the wooden spoon

up to his lips.

“Try
the
masterpiece.”

He squeezes me
tighter.

I don’t flinch.
I don’t push him
away. None of

any of it is ever
about before. We

sit for dinner and
I am

whole.

A4

The power was cut
in the giant sprawling
house. Every time we

heard a knock at
the door we thought
it was the eviction
cops throwing us

out. We had painted

the walls every
bright inappropriate
color for wall paint.

There was a giant
pool surrounded by
tall palm trees.

I felt like a movie
star, in my giant cat
sunglasses and

sequined pink bikini –
a time in my life where
that image was all I
wanted.

We ate Italian food
in the dark and re
told the stories

of the good drug
times. The bad
drug times.

Chicago streets.
Chain

smoking Marlboros
by the carton. Murder
docu drama day time
TV every morning.

“I made so much
art in that house.”

I say wistfully sometimes.
Paint everywhere nobody
gave a shit and we ate

jelly and crackers
for lunch or dinner
if we could find it.

When I needed someone
to believe in me and
love me the most,

it was her. She used to
blow smoke rings and
tell me how famous I’d

be someday and to always
remember this. She

brought me to this
valley.. we’d laugh until
we cried in the

in & out drive thru,
taught me the secret
back way to drive

everywhere in this
town and she never
asked me for anything

in return.

“Do we need to order a
pizza?” Always code
for “This is going to

be a long, dramatic,
drawn out, fucked up
story.”

She was my best friend,
my sister, my mother,
my daughter all in

interchanging parallels
of time. When I drive
south on the 515 towards

Boulder City I
always remember that
first time, seeing

those mountains with
The Crystal Method
Vegas

playing on the radio.

I owe her my life
some days and other
times we don’t talk

for months on end. I never
have to be that me
again but sometimes

I miss her.

=====

Surrender

I did 75 minutes
of hot yoga
and an hour of

cardio yesterday
so today, true to
form I laid in

bed for 12 hours
watching Fraiser,
had a bubble bath

and ate Italian
takeout with no
pants on.

I probably
expected,
earlier in life

that bliss
would be
something else.

Something shiny
or expensive,
dramatic or

extravagant.

I’m happy to be
ordinary.

Breakfast restaurant parking lot

I remember
the feeling
of the exact
pitch of

sunlight
the instant
we met.

The whole
world got
a little
slow.

I got quiet
and I
listened
to him talk.

Sometimes
I think that
in those first
few moments

I could already
feel our whole
entire life

together before
it happened. But
I

thought at the
time that it was
just

the pitch
of the sun.