Jim and Julia couldn't remember if Rose had ever been anything but a friend. She was part of their lives, part of the house and family, although neither close family nor distant relative. She'd been a friend of their mother's, Ruth, but their mother had so many friends and so many eras to her past.

Mary sat before him in the café, having not left her father’s home in two years.

Her brother and new sister-in-law had been traveling all over, places she couldn’t imagine would have her coffee, which she had brought in a travel mug to their lunch, and hid from the waiter, who’d been swift enough not to notice.

Cax and Sally, they's always on the corner

Cax, she's about my height maybe prettier

Sally looks like Fonda's boy

No. Anyway, they's the first ones come to mind

Jon punched like a mower blade lops dandelion puffs. Of course his jaw hadn’t come off, as I’d seen, but that guy’s sculpted hair lay strewn, a mess around his face. Jon kept telling the moment again, and again.

Weak character tangles up the bedclothes and strangles the mind to death before morning. General Gorgon’s caretaker brings his breakfast for him in bed and a white stack of letters bundled in a newspaper. Gorgon rarely reads letters, but the newspaper he regards with much interest and flips immediately to articles on his war. The south borders of the country rage in conflagration. His happiness at this moves his feet back and forth upon themselves under the covers and he fits an entire halved buttered toast into his mouth before smiling through his orange and soda.

Some patients simply complain of anxiety and irritability; others may show marked personality changes or may become frantically psychotic. -Endocrine System and Selected Metabolic Diseases “A young person's thing, baby,” her mother had said, and waved her away. What came came thunderous and burned in her insides biblical fires drenched by stuffing her face into a multi-pillowed corner of her bedroom and breathing hard hard into the blackness until the fuzz overtook her face chest and arms and all calm and gentle horizons ebbed and flowed in her recovering mind's eye.

We smoke cigarettes in the sun.

We eat colored frozen ice in the park.

Timothy is what his mom calls him. He stole her Virginia Slims.

We smoke in the sculpture at the park.

The rich people walk they miniature dogs.

We hang on the sculpture, smokin'.

The rich people dress like artists.

We sit in the sculpture and drink beers a bum bought us.

He told us his name was Len and that Lenny had plenty one time.

He ain't got nothing now, stupid drunk.

Cool evening hot tea, buttered bread from a Red Bird Breadbox spurs a call. Karen tells her mother the fear—not for her baby, but herself.

Her mother says, "Child, you need to do what we did for Anders. When she'd cry we'd get some of dad's Bay rum off his dresser and rub it into her balm. Worked for her. And for Christ's sake don't drown that child."

Her baby's brow imitates hers—they worry. She kisses him through his cries, a forced admiration.