In half a day we had your life packed into plastic garbage bags for Goodwill. I cried only when I saw your slack stretched mouth in that impossible silence: I know how you snore. My dad snaps photos like it’s the Grand Canyon, while the long lost troops descend to gawk at my life: Chicago, the unimaginable crime, the glamorous ad job, singlehood at thirty-seven. Their eyes dig to discern how a baby hand buttons a blazer, how flyaway brown hair turns yellow with roots. You had never demanded that I unbreak those engagements, never asked after a timeline, wanted only to stop me from eating a box of macaroni and cheese for dinner (it didn’t work). You confided your side of the story: The hearing aid ached inside your ear, and it buzzed. We were partners in crime, united against the ones who wanted the same thing for us both: for us to be happy.


“Last Day with Clara” won an Honorable Mention award in the Northwest Cultural Council’s 3rd Annual International Juried Exhibition, Nov 2006, and originally appeared online on the Northwest Cultural Council website.