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“Phathol Green Cerulean Blue” by Sherry Cassells

Where did you get this coffee – Jesus Christ – middle earth?

We were sitting on the Canadian Shield which is one motherfucker of a rock – I am balancing on it now as I jostle these words together – watching Lake Superior which was named not because it’s the better of the Great Lakes like everybody thinks but because of the French words for its position, lac supérieur, which simply means upper lake. The Canadian Shield is the exposed portion of continental crust underlying the majority of North America and it ekes out pines along its edges like they escaped – imposing beasts digging their heels into scant earth – relentlessly shoved by the wind they lean far above our heads, their disfigurement permanent and exquisite.

You know these trees point phthalo green in living rooms, the water and sky cerulean,

the horizon false because in real life you can’t tell what’s what out there.

It’s like getting stabbed he said

What’s like getting stabbed?

The coffee.

I brushed with splayed fingers indicating everything before and above me oh I thought you meant this.

Well, that too.

Me and my husband Max are from the north – we’d just visited our parents – but I alone was under its spell, the cool mornings, the way the sun was just starting to sparkle and amp which gave me a certain effervescence not to be confused with superiority although close.

I don’t think I want to go back I said.

You say that every time he said every time.

I bit my lip and squinted, nodding.

We got in the car, buzzed and maybe one good headache between us, drove into the sun quietly until we stopped at that restaurant on the hill, the one Max doesn’t know I’ve been to with other men on other cool mornings, sleepy and sore, before I met him.

Another thing he doesn’t know is that it was more timing than him – like I suddenly got a lumbering piece of love and had to put it down somewhere – and I went with it, you know, said yes and leaned right the fuck into it.

But unlike the beautiful Lake Superior pines, my disfigurement remains imperfect.

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

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