Bio Note: I am a community college professor, at home with my computer, my dog, my husband. Some day, I would like to leave again. You can find out more about my poetry and fiction publications here: www.laurelpeterson.com.
My father in the cockpit on one of his long-haul flights--Sao Paolo, Tokyo, Milan--watched Earth scroll past his darkened view, flickers of light, like candles glittering through windows as seen from a car driving past. He wasn’t up there alone, but the dark pressed them on all sides as the co-pilot flicked a switch and the navigator watched their green trail across the radar. At least they knew the number of hours ahead to their destination. *** This morning I stare out my window. Grey covers the sky like a depressive skin on warmed milk. A flicker of sun glimmers as the wisps part but is quickly extinguished. The news brings food shortages, protests, death tolls and threats. Every day we sit, stare into our screens, flying a mile at a time, cocooned, into the dark.
Originally published in publication
The Definition of Cool
Charlene suddenly wonders how much of her life she’s wasted trying to imitate cool, which is what? Artfully curly hair flopping over a forehead or trendy environmentally hip shoes or an asymmetrical fake leather jacket a student called dope or how she looks driving a bit too fast, tapping the beat to Def Leopard. Trying to be cool is like coral absorbing poison from seawater, like a fish caught in plastic. Even now, as she watches the delivery guy haul eight boxes of bread into a café, muscles gleaming in the early sun, jeans just that right amount loose on his hips, his eye catching hers as he turns, she wonders how long he practiced to perfect that useless swagger.
©2020 Laurel Peterson
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