by Alison Luterman
I was the wild-haired girl by the side of the road, thumb out, steering a jittery course between terror and boredom. Hours later, if you cared to look, you'd find me rattling around in the back of a truck, carried headlong into the next thing. It was just my luck to have been born when I was, on the cusp of a chaotic abundance, and, as my sister said, I was the fastest sperm, or maybe just the most persistent. What luck I've had since then, to sleep in the wet spot, to bruise easily, to laugh till I fart. What luck that my heart splintered into ten million silver needles each one on fire to embroider love-stained and prisoner of the self on red satin pillows. Lucky to live a lifetime in the years between losses, to lie awake at night, wide-eyed with the doleful sirens and the restless mice; to sweat a misspent word, to rue the past, to have a past to rue. Luckiest of all: to have yearned mightily, and learned a little, to have lived inside desire like Jonah in the whale, perpetually greedy and hopeful, making a lifetime out of each mouthful. And then to find you! Luck at the eleventh hour; undeserved, red-faced, panting, and overworked guardian angel, a messenger from all we can't see, a note telling us that love is real was here all along, a forgotten blue-and-green marble in our back pocket, an exact replica of the living world.
Citizens of a Broken City
by Alison Luterman
She's shuffling around the lake in flip flops pregnant belly hanging out over the open strings of her sweat-pants shouting into her cell phone: "You just don't get it!" Indigo twilight streaked with horsetail clouds. I'm dogging her discreetly, wondering what don't they get? Everything, probably. What it's like to be lugging her particular load, wanted or not, into the uncertain future while above us the sky is doing its big art installation thing, sunset's last flush lighting up the West like those pink neon thighs outlined in shaky fluorescent on the sign swinging outside a saloon: enter here for the time of your life. We're citizens of a broken city, yes in a dying time, yes, amid the general din; improbable that we'll be saved, still we keep hoping, which is to say shuffling, limping, or whizzing along--- kids on skateboards and bikes, the lady with the pink hula hoop swinging her hips in wide joyous circles, Chinese elders practicing T'ai Chi under a spreading oak, all of us putting one semi-discouraged foot in front of the other while above us the absolute indifferent magnificence abounds, abides; from a certain perspective even our ignorance is dazzling.