The Next 32 Years

Leave a comment

July 31, 2015 by The Citron Review

by Steven Coughlin

 

Park your car by this pile of week old snow. It will always be a used car, the heater will never work. These are the stairs you climb an hour before the sun. In the fluorescent light your breath will drift behind you and fade into nothing. This is the bathroom with the broken sink, the urinal like an ashtray. Each day you’ll work alone on the 1/4 inch gear machine. It’s the only machine the company could fit in the unheated loft. No matter how often you ask, the windows will never be shut. To pass the hours you’ll watch birds flutter among the rafters. You’ll look at the winter sunlight on the cold cement floor. Here is the man who lost his left hand with five minutes left in his shift. Though he works where it’s heated, you’ll always have it better. Watch how he raises the stump of his arm like a joke. Look at the machine that dug into his flesh and would not let go. Each day you will eat a cold bologna sandwich for lunch, carrots hard as ice. No jacket will ever keep you warm. No matter how long you wait summer will never arrive, the sunlight never warm enough to melt these piles of dirty snow. With each passing year you’ll become more like the icy wind, your silence no different than the stillness of January. After another sixty hour workweek, another night of leftovers in the refrigerator, a coldness will blow from you that is no different than the winter night, five degrees below zero. You will sit in the break room complaining to the only man who remembers your name of your failed marriage, another night of sleeping on the living room couch without a blanket, without a pillow. And when the furnace breaks in your basement, and your kids shiver sleepless in their beds, they’ll believe each frigid rattle of the window pane comes from you. You’ll be no different than this very loft–windows that never shut, winter light that never stretches. And still you will keep working. Year after year, your boots climbing the metal stairs. To pass the hours you will count the steps from wall to wall. You’ll look for any reason to come back into the break room. But we have worked here much longer than you. We know it’s best not to notice your presence. We will not look at the lunchbox in your hand, the jacket you have long stopped wearing. And your face, what does that mean to us–the tired darkness of your eyes, your lips pale and almost blue?

 

Steven Coughlin teaches writing at Chadron State College in northwest Nebraska. His first collection of poetry, Another City, was recently published by FutureCycle Press.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Snow on brush in desert

IMAGE CREDIT: Jill Katherine Chmelko. Protest Road, Winter. 2019.

🍋Our Tenth Anniversary

 

    Cheers to ten years of celebrating the short form.

 

🍋 Instagram

Winter will soon come to a close and everyone's crying! We trust Paul Beckman to reveal a trail through it all. https://citronreview.com/2019/12/15/crumbs/ Paul Beckman’s fourth short story collection is Kiss Kiss (Truth Serum Press), was a finalist for the 2019 Short Story Indie Book Awards. He was one of the winners of @bestsmallfictions 2016. He won the Editor’s Choice Award in 2016 from Fiction Southeast, and was in the #WigleafTop50. His stories have appeared in @jellyfishreviewig, @spelkfiction, @litromedia, @pankmagazine, Lost Balloon and many others. Paul curates the FBomb NY flash fiction reading series monthly at KGB Bar & @kgblitjournal. #amreading #flashfiction
Don't cry...or maybe do. A deeper look at our saltiest moments with Denton Loving's "The Topography of Tears." https://citronreview.com/2019/12/21/the-topography-of-tears/ Denton Loving is the author of the poetry collection Crimes Against Birds and editor of Seeking Its Own Level, an Anthology of Writings about Water. His writing has recently appeared in @lunchwithironhorse, @kenyonreview, #ChattahoocheeReview and #TheThreepennyReview. #amreading #creativenonfiction
US President George Washington rode a horse, of course. So we are recognizing this President's birthday with our Winter Issue story, "The Farrier, by Lisa Tuininga. https://citronreview.com/2019/12/21/the-farrier/ Lisa Tuininga writes fiction and creative nonfiction. She holds a BA in English Literature from DePaul University and has studied at Seattle’s literary center, @hugohouse. Her work has appeared in @belletristmagazine , Adanna Literary Journal, @sharkreeflit, and others (under pen name Lisa Regen) and she is working on her first novel. #amreading #amsubmitting
Whether you celebrate V-Day or you're anti-V-Day, we all have laundry to do. https://citronreview.com/2019/12/15/hanging-out-the-laundry/ Kris Willcox's work is in publications including The Cimarron Review​, @beloitfictionjournal , and @PDXReview. #amreading #flashfiction #litmag
Dive deep into some #flashfiction with @elpattee. https://citronreview.com/2019/12/21/men-learn-to-swim-in-the-deep-end/ Emma Pattee’s writing has been published in @nytimes and @carvecommunity and is forthcoming in @marieclairemag. She was a 2019 AWP Writer-to-Writer mentee and leads the Portland chapter of Women Who Submit. She is currently working on a novel.
We review the debut Cathy Ulrich collection Ghosts of You (@okaydonkeymag) We're over the moon with ZEST. https://citronreview.com/2020/02/09/debut-fiction-review-by-jr-walsh/ #amreading #flashfiction

Enter your email address to follow us and receive notifications of new issues by email.

%d bloggers like this: