Fiction: Bedtime Story by Robin Oliveira

In my half-sleep, I hear the tattling sounds of a key unlocking the front door, a tipsy stumble up the stairs, the soft hush of the bathroom door closing, and then the adolescent tell of muffled retching. I surface slowly from unconsciousness, exasperated but relieved that whatever escapade my daughter Caro has been up to this time hasn’t killed her. My foot searches the folds of sheet and blanket next to me, until I realize that the depression in the shape of my husband’s form is cool and empty.

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Poetry: “To Virginia Woolf,” by Paulette Guerin

Drifting down a long trip to the sea
Silk sash swelled with all she did not write
Then dips the pen’s sharp silver beads

In ink pools, oily spills, across veinless leaves,
Each pocket of rocks holding tight
Drifting down a long trip to the sea.

She chose the tides, a moon guide, not to bleed,
Marches to the river waist height,
Then dips the pen’s sharp silver beads.

She sifts the sand and steals a stone for every need
She has to carry into the night,
Drifting down a long trip to the sea.

Starving, on her own hunger she feeds,
Then lays down the arms of her last fight,
Then drips the pen’s sharp silver beads.

She signs the slip, leaves it for him to see.
Strangely grinning lips, now her body seems so light,
Drifting down a long trip to the sea,
Then drips the pen’s sharp silver beads.