left union on the adams side,
and i don’t know this city,
but i know where i need to be,
should be, east congress,
off of state,
directly maybe ten blocks,
a twenty minute walk
last time i,
we, did it.
in the cab on the way up to drop her off,
little flakes of what could grow into snow
dot the windows, forming shapes only a
child could create. i trace them with my fingers.
she hops aboard and there she goes,
away into the night,
away from me,
moving out towards the curve of the horizon.
no real clue as i pass a guy asking for
change, giving him none
though i know i could,
crossing the river as the flakes get bigger,
faster, i take a left on wacker,
the streets empty save for a cab that
follows me until i take a right on west
madison, where i go a block over to franklin,
take that down past arcade,
finishing off the first smoke and lighting
number two of the four i have, left
on monroe, right on wells,
left on marble to la salle, knowing i shouldn’t
be having that smoke, down to quincy which i follow back
up to adams, go another two blocks to dearborn,
thinking of that poem i hadn’t
read that so many love when
it comes to this city, a city i know
i could one day love, and perhaps will,
like a home you can’t
get back to, past jackson to van buren,
the snow starting to gather like bunch of bad apples,
following me as i surreptitiously look over my shoulder
to keep an eye on them,
and it is good i’m watching them and
thinking about them because otherwise i’d be
thinking about her as i stop to light up one more,
and somehow i’m back on wells and there are eight blocks
between me and where i want to be but i take one more wrong turn,
ending up on congress but ten blocks away from where
i’m staying and i’m almost there,
almost there, not thinking about how close but far,
from there, her, one last smoke that’s done as i
arrive to the warmth that isn’t what i’ve been seeking.
Her father’s speech is
thick with accent, Spanish
and a few words of English,
enough for me to understand
but not always enough to prevent
my confusion when we try to talk.
He’s always offering me food,
though, milanesa, pasta, tostadas,
even pepino and cafe con leche,
and I always tell him how good it is,
but that’s about it, when it comes to
He thinks I’m taking his
little girl away, and I am,
but she’ll always be his
little girl, and there’s no
I’ve been taking classes,
hoping to learn to converse with him,
to be able to tell him that,
to tell him how much I love her.
Te amo, I tell her that
every chance I can.
I’m working on how to
tell him that.
in regards to writers
some writer somewhere once
said something that will lift
your very heart to clog up in
your throat, but he was drunk
at the time, so take that for
what you will.
About the author:
Chris Deal writes from Huntersville, North Carolina. His work has been featured in Flash Fire 500, Colored Chalk, Powder Burn Flash, and Zygote In My Coffee. He is a fiction editor for Red Fez.