Friday, April 25, 2014


It rained yesterday and the day before and probably the day before that. She couldn’t remember. It was raining now—not a lot—a drip and a drizzle, but still rain, drops of water riding air currents to the ground, the force of gravity pulling water out of the sky.

Made her hair curl. Literally, made her hair curl, and she liked that. The only thing to like about a rainy day. And the grass was greener, really green, that deep emerald rug. The rain fed it. The water intensified the color of every blade until each was deeper hued than emeralds, her yard strewn with gems.
And it cleaned the streets. To be fair she was glad to see her little cul de sac washed—the eddy of water at the dead end swirled once and then down the sewer to . .. . Where? Gone. Didn’t matter.
It was raining. Each clenched tulip head, asleep and luminous, leaned under the weight of the moisture, waiting as she was for it to stop. Simply to stop.
Rain wasn’t bad, but you could have too much of a good thing.
That was it. The key to this unhealthy flood of thought. Too much of a good thing—like Simon. A good man, always there, there for her whatever that meant, and talking. Simon was a torrent of conversation. He noticed everything and told her about it, unimpeded like the rain which had now slowed and would stop soon, unlike Simon who had just said, "If I may, I'll give you the back story to the controversy over the Suez Canal."
Who was talking about the Suez Canal? she wanted to say. It had stopped raining. Really stopped. She thought of mentioning that to Simon, but he hated to be interrupted in the midst of something, lost his stream of thought, he said. “The Egyptians first contemplated a canal in the first century BCE. Actually the history of that is very interesting . . .  .”
At least the rain had stopped.

© 2014 Kathleen Coskran

Monday, April 14, 2014


What will I do when she comes, bustles in, all business, forgetting to say hello, never noticing my open mouth, hand half-raised in greeting, brushing my cheek with her lips? You should shave, she’ll say, and I’ll know she’s right. Always right.
It’s an element of speed. That’s my theory. Speed, not haste. She moves so quickly, without hesitation, that you know everything she does is an imperative without the necessity of thought which makes it right. Every statement a proclamation. Every observation accurate and never a question. She doesn’t believe in questions. Said that once. If I don’t know, I find out. No need to ask anything.
But how do you find out if you don’t ask questions?
That question, my question, drew a look that showed why all questions were stupid, particularly that one.
Didn’t answer, went on organizing my life. The drawer next to the stove that time.
I spent yesterday cleaning, organizing, making my paltry existence tidy, in order, boring, which is how she likes it.
So what will I do when she comes?
       What will she do?
I look around. There is nothing to do. Nothing. My meager two rooms look like something in a magazine. Real Simple. And clean.

How cruel is that? Nothing to do? I could drop a sock in the middle of the floor, rumple the bed, disturb the silverware. Would be a kindness to her, but I don’t. I don’t even sit down, so there is no crease on the sofa. I stand, freshly shaven, posture perfect, and wait.

© 2014 Kathleen Coskran

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Usual

“Any unusual feelings?”
What a question. Kristin looks away, then tries to meet the eyes of the doctor. The young doctor. Her first year not an intern. Thin-lipped, serious, pretty in a severe, dark-hair-lashed-back kind of way.
            Any unusual feelings? The question hovers in the room. “You mean my throat? I can hardly swallow.” She’s conscious of intentionally rasping her voice, trying to make her very speech sound ill and convincing. She knows the doctor will swab the throat, and her temperature has already been taken—normal. Blood pressure—fine.
            Why is she here?
            Sore throat. Three days a sore throat.
            “Any unusual feelings?”
            Despair. Does that count?
            Loneliness. Abandonment. Fear. Are those unusual feelings?
            It’s been a week—or two—since he left. Doesn’t matter exactly when. Doesn’t matter how. Dead or drove away in the green Prius, green in every respect, that man. Lasik surgery to save using plastic in his eyeglasses. Can you imagine that? He actually said it.
            The doctor is waiting, poised at the computer, ready to record, yes or no. Any unusual feelings? She asks again. “Ma’am? Any unusual feelings?” Sore throat obviously doesn’t count. She’s already mentioned the throat.
            “No,” Kristin says finally, and with some relief because she knows her answer is true, absolutely true. “Just the usual.”
            “The usual?”
            “The usual feelings. That’s what I have.” Despair. Loneliness. Fear.

© 2014 Kathleen Coskran

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

One Drop

It was raining, and she was happy. The mounds of snow were now fingers reaching across the yard revealing strips of green between the digits, grass last seen four months earlier—or was it five?

When did the first snow come? After Thanksgiving, the day after, the day when the kitchen still smelled of turkey and stuffing and mincemeat pie.
They’d looked out the window as the first big, soft flakes came, snow flakes that looked like the outline of flakes in a child’s coloring book, six-sided, each one different. She didn’t even question their difference, or how it could be known. The first ones melted so quickly, and the last ones merged into the whole, the single flake becoming snow.
The pure whiteness of the blanket of snow had been beautiful. She had fumbled for the words. Blanket was too suffocating. Sheet—not right. Cover—depth—accumulation? All those words the weather people use. How to find one word that gave the white, the cold, the cover, the immensity that stretched down the yard, across the sidewalk to the boulevard, over the car, into the street, on and on and on. That was four months ago and now the great sheet, the icy blanket, the infinite fabric of snow was pulling back.
The rain—was each rain drop individual? a different shape?—the rain hurried the process, separated the snow into flakes that melted quickly, that shred the fabric and let the sharp blades of grass rise up again. Beauty behind her, beauty before her, beauty pushing up through the snow.
It was raining, and she was happy. One woman, one blade, one flake, one drop, each one like no other, part of the whole. It was all she needed on the gray day.
It was so simple.
The cup of happiness brims when you start with one.

© 2014 Kathleen Coskran