In the afternoon

In the afternoon we drink coffee in the dull sun. You notice a
piece of sidewalk missing, perhaps the aftermath of a storm.
My mother calls but I don’t answer. She’s probably eating egg
whites at the kitchen table, flipping through a catalog of home
décor. I try to touch my elbows behind my back, but they
barely reach.

t’s the afternoon when we are sipping coffee and I say I‘m
sorry about last night I didn’t think…but I trail off. The sun
beats down—it’s a complicated October. I sigh and search my
purse for my phone. I see my mother has called and I miss
her. I gave her a James Baldwin book and she said it was
heartbreaking. I asked her what she liked best and she said
how vulnerable the characters, how silent the words.

id-day and my back hurts. We are sitting with our sides
touching on a bench outside a coffee shop. Last night in bed, I
said sometimes I see things—colors, letters—and when I get
dressed, I count. It starts when I open the drawer, and not at
one either, but a random number, maybe sixteen. When I was
little my mother said I counted everything.

Dear Mother,
I’ve made a terrible mistake.