Proof Reading


The ushers haven’t arrived yet. Certain nutrients are missing from the performance.
A gardener playing with the tassel on his stocking cap has just entered the convenience
store. That’s not my face on the milk carton. We haven’t figured out the purpose of the
missing contraband.
I believed it must be a witnessing of unleashed emotions, like free kittens, romantic
love, or a confusing torture devise.
The reasonable garden waits patiently.
Nevertheless, I was tiring of the tedious ferns in the background. And that
marching band passing at just that moment! I could have gagged, even before the
notorious “gunman” plugged the clerk. I didn’t even know which unemployed antagonist
was really the hero, but thanks to the gunman he began performing an admirable
bloodletting and the supporting cast grew substantially absent and thus, well, supportive.
I was getting rather antagonistic myself.
But that was way moments ago, before scales of thematic healing had grown over
the invisible wound. I don’t even know if it’s fair to call the experience mine anymore.
Perhaps in the clerk’s absence I gave it away to the wimpy little bookworm with a new
poem for his mother malingering in the cereal aisle. Innocent bystander. Like anyone
ever is. Sometimes the crime just isn’t obvious. I looked him up in the comprehensive
anthology of misunderstood poets and I didn’t fully understand what he had to say. So I
corrected it. I mean him.
Like I did the clerk. In the absence of certain nutrients.
Then I waited for the ushers some more.
I wanted to get it right. I wanted to make all the mistakes acceptable.

Rich Ives is the author of Tunneling to the Moon: A Psychological Gardener’s Book of Days currently being published in serial @ Silenced Press everyday in 2014 and forthcoming in paperback. Begin from the beginning, catch up, read daily. Just refer to the Burrow Guide.