Once a person looked down from a cloud, and she thought to another person: a landscape
with some fountain grass, a tangerine tree, a mild river, a billowy sea, and a snowy mountain is
nice for a person to hang on her living-room wall. Because then a person escaping her day for a
short moment here with coffee, a short moment here with cup two, and a long moment here with
her dead mother’s ironing board, can fantasize herself as person skiing, then as dolphin
swimming, and then as kitty cat napping in fountain grass while curled up like human child.
Later in the day, a person’s husband can be staring at TV with his feet up or sometimes his feet
down, and a person can sit beside him while fantasizing herself as person savoring tangerine
while tubing down river, and maybe when a person’s husband’s long-day lips kiss hers, she
tastes sweet juice instead of ash, and maybe when a person’s husband rubs a person’s inner thigh
and suggests perhaps on couch perhaps in bed, a person is on a shiny Christmas sled, zipping and
cutting and crying joy, and then shedding her clothes to wash in the hot and salty sea before
scouring the canvas for a space to plant something new.
Derek Updegraff is the author of the fiction collections Pup! et cetera (2019) and The Butcher’s Tale and Other Stories (2016), as well as the poetry collection Paintings That Look Like Things (2018), all from Stephen F. Austin State University Press. His poems, flash fictions, and short stories have appeared in The Carolina Quarterly, CutBank, The Greensboro Review, Hobart, Jabberwock Review, the minnesota review, North Dakota Quarterly, Pembroke Magazine, The Southampton Review, and other places. He lives and teaches in southern California.
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