White Whale Review: An Online Literary Magazine Untitled Document
Elisabeth Harwood
Elisabeth Harwood has had several poems published, and is currently organizing a collection of poetry and short fiction. She is particularly interested in prose poetry at present, in capturing snapshots of lives, but is moving into longer stories even as we speak. She spends most of her time filling her house with flowers, writing at odd moments, and getting distracted by thoughts and beautiful things.  

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Opening Up

Elisabeth Harwood


It was one of those nights, I’m not going to say it was pretty cause it wasn’t that pretty, it was just a night, but it was a night where you could see things about the world, it wasn’t any other kinda night. It looked that way maybe from the outside but no one ever sees things from the outside anyway, and I saw things for real.

The lady at the register double-bagged my apples and the French cheese I was trying on sale, feeling special and somehow strange, like I knew something secret but that secret made me a stranger in my own home, and it’s like that, you go to a place so much and you own it somehow, every aisle is a part of your kitchen. Too much maybe but usually all the things you need, except rice, which they only sell in the Hispanic section and it’s too expensive, some Hispanic brand like they make better rice than everyone else, like anyone who wants rice, even Hispanics, cares so much about where it’s coming from—I mainly just want what’s

cheaper and I know that brand is not, but I can’t get to the other store but on the bus and you just don’t always want to take that long. So a dollar more, but it’s like my place, I know every corner and how to find the freshest rolls, when to look for the ice cream on sale, what cashiers are the fastest and the most careful with what you buying. And she double-bagged it without my asking, I feel bad about the plastic, the environment and all, but she was right I needed it and anyway one bag won't make too much difference probably.

The clouds were a graypink going home and I walked face first into a cloud of bugs so small they coulda been ash off a cigarette, crowded together and I had to hold my breath to get through it. I like summer alright, the sun, and the lake when I can get there, and the way the smell of the air is always so full of things, like sticking your face into a carpet that’s been in a house for a while and every smell is there hiding, waiting to be smelled, but I could do without all the bugs.

She asked if it was alright, after she bagged them, did I want it like that, and I said Yes M’am thank you have a good night, and she smiled but she

was already looking at the guy behind me so I didn’t know who the smile was really for, and I know it shouldn’t matter, it should be that a smile any way is alright, but I did think about it, I wanted her to see me, but it wasn’t so much anyway.

My sister is the real thing, she talented and smart and trying to do a lot anyway with two kids and another coming, her husband works but they don’t need so much lately so he spend a lot of time on the couch watching those advice shows where specially troubled families go to get things figured out. I actually hate them, everyone always screaming at each other and even the lady who gives the advice has to scream to get heard, and all I hear is screaming all through the house, but he likes it so I guess everybody got they own thing. Anyway he works hard when he works and tries to send money home to his mother, his sister I guess is a trial and hard to get around, but it’s necessary for the money and all that. Everybody got what they feel is a hardship, I can’t complain, and no sense anyway since everybody got they own problems. We all just do what we can I guess and hope tomorrow shine brighter.

It was the flowers I think that did it, out of a day that wasn’t anything but really a day, but these flowers next door when I was coming home I don’t know what kind but they were tall and pink, opening up big and like a bowl of water, so wide and I thought, that’s right, we opening up, it’s only the beginning, the light is only the thing that lets you know another day is coming, there’s no end to it, it all keeps opening up










Copyright© Elisabeth Harwood. White Whale Review, issue 2.3

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