Collapse

By Ana June

The clothes bar in our closet collapsed last night, the weight of three seasons of clothes for two people drawing it to the earth in a crash we did not hear, for we were away from the house—across the property at my mom’s—living fully this new dream of a family compound, all of us together, supporting each other, my mother, three of my four children, my husband and I: three acres, two houses, a workshop, a trailer that has become our quarantine space now, with a western view of a bright pasture and rolling cottonwood horizon...the river beyond that bringing birds—hawks and egrets and ravens and blackbirds that turn above our postage stamp space, more space than we’ve ever had, which lets us wander and walk, get our steps even without masks, find new views both inside and out...which is why we didn’t hear the crash, our clothing falling in a lump of color to the floor and settling among the shoes we don’t wear, for how many do you need in quarantineand when we see the disaster in the closet, it’s late and the sky is obsidian outside and I scoop up the clothes, stagger beneath their weight—the dress I wore when I interviewed for my dream job, the job that now assures we can eat and pay the bills; the tank tops I pair with cardigans now that I’m older and my arms have lost their tone because this pairing makes me more comfortable when I stand up in front of my students and…there will be no more standing in front of my students, not for a long while, and so each morning I put on one of three tee shirts, one of four pairs of yoga pants, one of two sweatshirts, depending on the temperatures, and because I don’t really need those patterned tank tops and earthtone cardigans, so I lay them in a pile, smooth them with my hands, tuck them away in a bag for storage and wonder how dusty they’ll get in the dark.

Ana June is an Assistant Professor of English, at the University of New Mexico, and a sometimes-by-the-skin-of-her-teeth writer who has published in The Rumpus, Santa Fe Literary Review, and Santa Fe Noir, among others.


Photo by Ana June.

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