Fiction

This morning, Jonas and I are separated by two cups of coffee and an ashtray. They rest, steaming and smoking, on the linoleum-topped table between us.

My wife looks flush when she comes into the house. There is a sadness in her face. It is early on a cold fall morning.

Once, upon returning from a short trip to Philadelphia where I visited friends, I phoned my father. I said: Dad, I’m home and everything went fine in Philadelphia.

Spring begins slowly in Maine. Coldly. Curled into a ball on the backseat of his car, a wool blanket clenched around his shoulders, Samuel Pierce wonders when this last bit of winter will give up and let the nights begin to warm.

Two in the morning, I can hear it against the window. I roll over, take her up into my arms, hold her like a flower. The rain has gotten into my bones.

Another Sunday night at the market. I stand behind the checkout—its wooden counter worn down by decades of sliding groceries—and lean against the wall next to the cigarette rack.

© tammy ackerman