In Preparation
by Jessica Hollander

I know you’ve grown comfortable in your hooked desk cluttered cube clean shaven pressed pant days. Yesterday I picked up piled sticks in the back presentable for your mother who came demanding we stay home in the evening. Demanded frames hung directly spaced chairs angled doors fixed properly the possibility of stripped floors. I know I’ve been complaining. Yes your cooking is good. My work goes untitled bed made dishes washed berries cut. I’ve worn out the fan in my computer. Clauses wrangled stretched ends to include something worth something. With all connotations your mother is proud to be a mother in law. She buys cleaner clears window streaks asks why I’m moody when you go to work why I don’t even want to water the weed flowered lawn. Afternoons we sit on the sun rotted porch me and her feet propped on a cushion. Thinking of you in your cubicle. She asks but I won’t call myself a writer a wife

a daughter in law. I believed I’d enjoy this summer this visit. That evening necktie loosened you cook dinner. Tell me Relax. I help her lay forks knives napkins like I’ve done this before will do it again. When she’s gone you will still go to work. Leave me our house to wander around the heat throbbed windows too wavery to look at when the sky is bright and I am bright. This is the world after learning after dreaming. You’ve proved the value of getting dressed in the morning.

Jessica Hollander is in the MFA program at the University of Alabama. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Sonora Review, Quarterly West, FRiGG, Gargoyle, and Alice Blue, among others. She blogs everything literary at Fringe Magazine and chronicles her failed beginnings at jessicahollanderwriter.com.

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