Holly Frances Pettit
The tide was so low she could walk beneath the bridge upon rocks that jutted up from the mud. Celadon sat for a long while on an outcropping
where the bridge builders of the CCC had let the cement run out from
under the boards of their mold. In late summer the river stagnates.
Used condoms float by. Her lips curled at the smell.
She had been alone in her studio so long that she preferred now to sit
among broken glass and graffiti rather than on the grass in the sun with
If she slid over just far enough she could see the Hancock building, no
bigger than her finger at that distance, its glass panels reflecting the
city. Beneath it and two blocks toward the river, (the selfsame river
Charles) were Rot's apartment steps. He had gone, taking his fuzzy
bleached head and titanium studs with him.
But to sit on his front steps, to feel the hard concrete cold through
her jeans would still be sweet.
The ride over the MIT bridge would have been sublime. The city always
had opened like an oyster on both sides in anticipation of what would
come next atop the mildewed carpet of Rot's subbasement flat.
Now only echoes and blue light remained.
She would have to find her dinner on her own, watch the news alone
(talking back to Dan Rather) and -- sweet Jesus! -- wonder whether to
keep those initials he carved into her thigh:
First published: February 1997