Kathryn Scanlan


Seems like things don’t hurt unless they’re being brought back to life, having been already dead or dying, broken or shriveled. You don’t miss them until they come back, the needling throb in the foot you’ve been sitting on all this time, the one you forgot about.

Here, springtime is treacherous. Warmth can vanish overnight or in the middle of an afternoon, freezing into pebbles while you watch, hands over your mouth, clothed in rags.

My advice to you: sit by your window wearing everything you own. Keep a small knife for notching the sill, one mark for each day. Do not be lulled by the sun, not yet.



The cloud was easy to see. From miles away, people couldn’t help but notice. Some took pictures though they knew the picture would disappoint them, that they would never go to the trouble of printing it. Some lay on grass and sketched it, fully aware that nobody wants to look at a sketch of a cloud anymore. Soon the cloud was too dense for light to shine through. It was as if night had come, now at noon. “What a dark cloud!” people cried, pointing. They looked around anxiously, as though they had missed their curfew. They clutched their jackets more tightly around themselves and stuffed their things into sacks. Babies were crying, and dogs were whining. At last the water inside the cloud became too heavy and began to fall. It came as though cut loose from long restraint: excessive, exuberant. It positively pelted. People ran, shrieking. Covering their heads with newspaper. As though they’d never been wet before. As though the rain would burn their skin. As though they hadn’t seen this coming.



Like me for example, I drink coffee all day long to keep my eyes open. Open. I don’t want them slipping before it’s time to shut them at night. No half-shifts. No phoning it in. When coffee doesn’t work I take a cold shower, and when the cold shower doesn’t work I use glue. When the glue wears off I stand on my head until the blood all rushes there, and when I finally upend myself my eyes are rewarded with all manner of celebration, with stars and diamonds, with comets and rainbows.