I Ate Lunch At Quiznos

I ate lunch at Quiznos. I was indecisive. I did not understand where the line started or how I should begin. I pressed against the glass until the Artist addressed me. How big is a medium, I asked. About medium sized, said the Artist. Thank you. That is helpful. One medium for me.

There are mermaids in the downtown aquarium. These are the new stakes, I thought. You must promise if you see me that you will cut me down.

In another Quiznos, we understood that the center was not the center, just something else that turned. The Artist was talking to us all. One of the customers leant on a walker. Others wore hardhats. I bit into my medium. He knew then that most of us were already his.

Mermaids are just women in costume, said the Artist. And their oysters are the best in town. The customers agreed. None of them were women. It is thousands of miles to the ocean and I have never cared much for oysters. But I am eating lunch at Quiznos. I will never be an Artist.

I drove past the motel where we lived for the first months, across town to the storage lockers. I opened the trunk and stored the excess laminate boards.

I arranged them in equal stacks.

            I covered them with a bedsheet.

                        I am falling in love with my life again.

Danielle I Have Failed You

Danielle, I have failed you. Your manuscript remains
in the drawer beside my bed. Yesterday as we drove home from the
hospital the afternoon haze felt like winter. The problem,
you know, is that I make promises too easily. Every morning
I watch the tallest buildings razed to the ground. There is something
about the way the dust settles, how it rises skyward
and hangs there suspended, the way the largest birds refuse
gravity. One day all of the usable energy in the universe
will have been consumed. By then the idea of a day will be
the idea of a day, the way the dead cannot be rescued, the way
our thoughts do not form the earth. Schrodinger said that our lives
are temporary pockets of order although I cannot believe he was
speaking directly to us. I am taking this weekend alone in a white
room and yes, I know that we are born of second chances.

Richard Froude has written three books: FABRIC (Horse Less Press), The Passenger (Skylight Press), and Tarnished Mirrors: Translations of Charles Baudelaire (Muffled Cry Editions). He lives in Denver, CO. He takes walks.