Ginnah Howard

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Rope & Bone

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They marry:

Rope and Bone.
Sunday and Saturday.
That and This.

He said, “It was our finest hour.”
She wept.

Speaking in tongues
they move in experimental space suits,
uneasy in the other’s gravity.
(To say nothing of the difficulty of dancing.)

To be continued...

Photo of fitting stones into a framework.


Del Merrick knew something was wrong, but she didn’t know what. A pulling to the left, a dragging. She felt it just as she turned onto Chicken Farm Road. She punched the off button on the radio and listened: a dull thumping, left front. Then she knew what it was even though she’d never had one and miles either way to any kind of help. Damnation.

She eased the car onto the shoulder. Just before it nosed over the embankment to tip into the brook below, she stopped. If someone took the corner wide, it’d be all over.

Should she put the emergency brake on? She knew there was a rule: Before jacking up your car, set the parking brake. Before jacking up your car, do not set the parking brake. Richard Larson always said, If you understand the concept, there’s not that much to memorize. But she had no idea how this connected to that with what result. Safer to have the wheels locked or did you need free movement to change the tire? She shrugged, pulled up hard on the lever and got out. Dank. The bleak smell of November.

It sure was a flat.



Photo of a jacket of the Pagans Motorcycle Club

Carla Morletti could not remember when she was supposed to turn the numbers upside down, when she was supposed to reduce them to the lowest common denominator. She read the problem again: You have $53.97 for groceries this week. You have four people to feed three meals each day. “Good luck,” Carla said to the ceiling. On average, how much do you have to spend for each person per meal?

53.97; not 54 dollars. Clearly the person who made up this question needed help, or as her counselor would say was “carrying around a lot of free-floating hostility.” God knows, she herself detested the 7s and the 9s.

Her final G.E.D exam, or as she liked to call it, the GD E, was only three days away; it was time to stop making jokes, time to stop imagining she had the pale little person who made up the test across from her in a counseling session. It was time to get what got turned upside down straight, and the 9s memorized once and for all.


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