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MIT OpenCourseWare


SP.292 / ESG.SP292 Writing Workshop
Spring 2008

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He noticed the whispering blades of grass. no rotted carrot nose. He sat without counting the passing time. numbed by the cold breeze now constant. deep dark brown. he unconsciously wrote on the inch of air above the yellowing page. Just ice and white. taking down the thick grey blankets 1 . This was his winter. basking in the nothingness. Turning up the thermostat a little each day. No top hat. left accidentally on a table outside of his office. too peaceful. he sat. Tightly gripping a pen. no chimneys and their warm afterglow. he noticed. and nothing less. as the nights grew blacker and bleaker. to dead. None of that. shutting off. turning on. shortened days. the memory of bare skin rubbing against a July evening. said nothing. This was the worst of it – watching the green dull to beige. the echoes of laughter from a life now distant. Life slipping away quietly. killing – as the clouds crept quietly through the sky. and dragged out nights. No. Only a wooden bench keeping him from the nothingness of the Stevens poems he’d come to cherish. too obvious to him. His left hand held his journal – leather-bound. this was his winter – late autumn. as the cold slithered up the tree trunks – tinting. and everything in between. wrinkled from years of thought. to brown. without protest. Always. as chills rolled down his spine in waves. to brown. nothing more. never again the same – warped by the unforgiving freeze in the night. Page after page painted pictures. did nothing. No snowmen – no smiles of coal. their life together. No puffs of snow. cheap and plastic. the tiniest embers shutting off. or stone.Fallen Bird Jessica Young In the last days of autumn. icing. Winter was too quiet. He noticed the quiet hush. unnoticed. to brown. Winter hid nothing. her hand in his. Page after page told the story of his wife.

the bird sat there. It had been an ordinary morning. that he were sleeping and would soon wake. watched the wind try to carry it away time after time after time.. cursing all the cracks in the floors. And then the wind swirled around it. deserted. he was unable to attach words to what he had just seen. And the man. never before heard something that was breathing one second. unsuccessful. unable to pinpoint what it made him feel. This was when his bones ached. Like a bass drum. sounded its most empty. putting in the storm windows. The bird fell from the sky the way birds fall from the sky. There was no good way to put it – no metaphor. the numbers on the heating bill. hair down. The sound filled his head. It was a small. and couldn’t look away. ordinary bird – brown feathers now eerily still. the solemnity straightening his lips. no imagery. silent. trying to twirl it back up into the sky. as they always seemed to be. thunk the next. But now his mind was focused.. watched it – his eyebrows scrunching in. He remembered his wife at their kitchen table. playing again. and as he always did. not sure it was all real. and again. And this was when a bird dropped from the sky. Only the man had never before seen a bird fall from the sky. elbows up. He thought of her mming while This was when his house 2 . unmoving. an ordinary day – the town streets had been packed with business and children and holiday cheer. spinning. maybe prayed.from the top shelf of the closet. taking out the screens. He watched the colors of sunset roll over it. And he wished. So he sat there for hours. For perhaps the first time in his life since his wife’s all too sudden death. he had walked down the darker streets – leaning against the shadows of buildings every few blocks to stop his mind from spinning. Too heavy. devoid. He was affected by the sight of it. when his mind woke up somewhere else. The sound of her smile – her lips arcing just enough to be audible. and he stared at the bird.

And he put it back down. on a piece of still-green ground underneath the even darker darkness of the wooden bench. He picked it up. poured itself in. the way her hair always had after a bath. Her greatgrandmother’s recipe. unaware. Their first vacation together – the white beaches of Thailand. Now wished he had done it more often. looked at the bird. Might not remember to remember. It had rained. And the man put away his journal. Without realizing it. The water pried his eyes open. Soaked. closer to the bird. knowing that she could never fully grasp it. and noticed it had taken on a black color. with their corners gracefully bent in over the years. He had loved to watch. humming an old tune. The stars were gone. Perfect every time. silent and tiny. it fit easily in the palm of his hand. duller and duller. to stare. And he turned. Done it closer. to observe. Its feathers stuck together – tear-shaped drops of rain sliding on their greasiness.crunching on cereal. He didn’t have much to look back on. their thermoses of soup. He remembered wanting to get lost in it with her – the nights spent with their backs to the earth. he sat on the ground. A small. slowly. His wife had loved astronomy – loved the idea of vastness. And the bird. Her soup. Done it better. He walked home. and felt lighter than he imagined a bird can. and worried he might forget her. their faded print on back. pathetic thing it had become while he slept. and how they had laughed endlessly at the 3 . Asterisms. And he took down the old photos. sprinkles of asterisms. And then he woke up. until one day it disappeared under the whiteness of winter. their eyes upward. remained under the bench for weeks – getting smaller and smaller. Drenched. The town lights in the distance were no competition for the stars… no competition for the show far above his head – the twists of constellations. and looked around.

And he stored it all in boxes. Her on the front steps.foreignness of the American Breakfast. wanting to be lived in. Him at the piano. the cat curled in his lap. desperate to be lived in. arms stretched out impossibly far. along with his ring. and he knocked on the door. 4 . papers. And he found a small house. and then drove some more. inviting. He packed up all of his books. and all of the other things that reminded him of her. which he packed in a van. work – packed it all into bigger boxes and bigger bags and cases. which he drove until he could recognize nothing. unlived in.

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