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December 22, 2021 by The Citron Review

by Mary Slowik



Sometimes you can work for years to understand something. And sometimes things come together in a bare instant. Go Figure.

It was a brisk morning. A man saw me coming full tilt down one side of the street. He was strolling up the other. “My, you’re brisk this morning.” he said, me swathed in two sweaters, two scarves, a winter coat, a wool hat, he in a light jacket, a safety vest, white-haired, hatless.

“Yes, it’s cold,” I said brusquely, and laughed to make sure he didn’t think there was too much chill in my voice as I passed him by.

And that’s how the body and human behavior and weather come together on a morning when the cold is cutting, the body is quick, and the conversation is abrupt:

Brisk; brisk; and brusque.


The Days of the Week

Today is Sunday, the Day of the Sun.

Tomorrow is Monday, the Day of the Moon.

Tuesday is the Day of Two’s. On that day, I’ll look for pairs, wherever I might find them–my two hands, my two feet, my two ears, my one nose, my one neck, my one torso. Imagine if I were a sting ray and waved my way across the ocean. Only two eyes, everything else one. And that’s it.

Wednesday: a good one for learning elision. Say it slowly, three syllables – wed-nes-day. Now say it thirty times as quickly as you can. . . . And that’s elision. Now, tell me who Wednes was.

Thursday: That’s the day you’re thirsty – a victim of elision.

Friday: Yup. Fried food all day.

Saturday: Now that’s the day I’ve wanted to get to all week. Saturn Day.  Just get on a planetary website and look at all those rings, at least eight of them, and all those moons, eighty-two and counting. And who wouldn’t want to have rings and moons.  Saturn, the jeweler of the sky.

And then it’s back to Sunday.

And thank you.


De-Light: Of or From Light

Light, like water:

How it “streams;”

How it “glistens,” shimmers like stones in a stream;

How it “pours” through a window, or a door;

How it flashes and immediately you wait for thunder crash, and taste rain;

How it is channeled with mirrors so it sluices around in telescopes, instantaneous, exuberant, arriving from far away;

How it fills a space, a light-filled room, for instance, or a light-filled house, fills a cup like water, except light doesn’t need tilt or gravity and though you can’t lift light to your lips unless it’s a magic elixir, you can walk into it, be in it, even dance in it – that light-filled room, that light-filled house;

And of course, there are light-filled eyes, liquid and radiant.

So, if we had to vote in a physics class on whether light was more liquid or more particle, I’d vote for liquid.

Though point a strobe light at water dripping from a faucet and adjust the speed of water and strobe, you’ll see separate beads falling in a gorgeous crystalline row and you’ll think particle, which isn’t part of the conundrums of physics but just a testament to how much water and light permeate each other, and how if they could be, they might even be the same thing.


Mary Slowik has a Ph.D. from the University of Iowa. She has published essays on Maxine Hong Kingston, Leslie Silko, Frank Basso and Greg Sarris, Garrett Hongo, Asian American immigration poetry. She has also published articles on short animated films. Her essays and short stories have appeared in The Iowa Review, The Massachusetts Review, The North Dakota Quarterly, MELUS, Gargoyle 50, Northwest Edge, The Literary Encyclopedia (, and Narrative. She has taught English Composition and Literature Seminars at Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, Oregon.




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