Often I have read—have nearly finished— a book so sharply good I snap it shut. I sabotage those scenes with my own pulse. (Don’t ever let me shut you up. Don’t let me turn our home into a quiet place.) At start of winter here the sun stays hot. Promises to sicken what last sugar the flowers contain until the air sticks rotten in our nostrils. Often I find I hold my breath against the last sweet smell— so certain this, or this, or this, or this is the moment of the late caramel turn. Our doors must never slam. They must flutter open, and close softly, like printed fans.

KATHLEEN JONES is a writer and designer living in Wilmington, NC. Her work can be found in LEVELER, Ninth Letter online, and The Boiler and is forthcoming in Heavy Feather Review.