Nathan William Meyer
Dušica Bradonjić

treading water 87% of the time
lives in a blue neighborhood
speaks in quotes and lyrics
falls in love with words
belongs to the rain

Turning pages patiently
In search of meanings

-W.S. Merwin.

Our Kind

        THE ROOM WAS DIMLY LIT and, while a faint glow came through the open window, darkness still smothered the air. It gave off the feeling of an ancient study. Mainly because every inch of the room was covered in books ‒ volumes of all possible sizes, shapes and colors, some clearly old, first edition, musty and loved, and others new, with their spines yet unbroken, stacked on bookshelves, on the tables and chairs. All of them showed the tell-tale signs of being collected with care, kept with caution, read, not just loved but adored. Ellie sat in the armchair, legs dangling from the side, head bent over a volume in her lap, her hair creating a dark, wavy curtain over the sides of her face. She was focusing on a poem she’d read before, one of her favorites, but this time she was stuck on a passage, and couldn’t go through it.

         There is something horrible about a flower;

         This, broken in my hand, is one of those

         He threw it in just now; it will not live another hour;

         There are thousands more; you do not miss a rose.[1]

       With a sigh, she closed the book. She wasn’t focused, she knew, and that was partly to blame, but it wasn’t all that was happening. Something about this poem unsettled her; she couldn’t wrap her head around the reason why or even what it was, exactly. That final verse crept into her mind, burrowed itself in and refused to leave, like a particularly annoying parasite.

         She put the book on a nearby table, grabbed a pack, lit a cigarette and started walking towards the bedroom, with a slow gait, taking deep breaths and savoring each inhale of the cigarette smoke. Once again, she felt empty. It seemed to her that it was the prevalent feeling of her life, that emptiness. It never went away, not truly. She passed a mirror and glanced over her figure in the reflection. She was wearing black panties with a plain top, and a blank look on her face. She was pleased by what she saw, but that pleasure was oddly distant, as if looking at a picture of a stranger. She generally liked the way she looked. Her legs could have been slimmer and her belly flatter, but she wasn’t obsessing over it. Boys certainly didn’t object to her looks. There I go again, she sighed. I need a drink.

         A little while later, she emerged from the bathroom, showered and with her make-up done. She settled on a short floral print dress that matched her favorite shoes, but in no way matched her mood. Dark lipstick and eyeliner completed the look. A beautiful disaster, wasn’t that the phrase? Read more...

         [1] Charlotte Mew, In Nunhead Cemetery