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"I Got Bats" by Sherry Cassells

Every so often – such a vague beginning I know but stick with me – every so often Marty calls me on the telephone, always the same wet hollow voice like the phone’s in his mouth he says something about coming home.

I have an ear for him you see it’s similar to how we used to wade through our old neighbour Yelti’s thick accent when we were kids, Yelti always seemed mad, his words harsh, but we finally caught their quick, that he was offering us cookies like ugly clay but at the bite they crumbled into our mouths so terribly/terrifically sweet I am convinced now that they were only fistfuls of brown sugar.

Anyway Marty called this morning and I got that feeling again like butterflies

but bats.

I tried to not say what? because Marty is easily discouraged so I let him speak all the way and some words rise like how a pulse shows up on those monitors so I catch ones like train and October and others that prove invalid like soiree and Jupiter I reluctantly let them go these superfluous words that are beautiful to me.

His phone call like a two-word telegram I know he’ll be home soon.

He’ll be carrying that same suitcase so much a part of him now it’s an organ and wearing those baggy beige pants that are in style now they’re called paper bag pants I saw some just the other day at Banana Republic.

There will be more geography on his face; he’ll be wearing a floral shirt.

Just like when on the telephone I have to be careful not to say what? when he’s here I try not to say stay.

Sherry is  from the wilds of Ontario. She writes the kind of stories she longs for and can rarely find.


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