In the Morning We Check Ourselves for Holes

Do you remember that New Year’s Eve we watched a movie and I heard you making noises with your eyes at the climax of the film when the lovers could not be together? I thought you were laughing because it was a silly movie with corny dialogue. I said, “Are you laughing?” And you said, “I’m not NOT crying,” so then I knew you were crying, and we invented a new word: craughter, which means to laugh and cry at the very same time.

We live in a two-story row house on a city block where the Korean grocer on the corner keeps the register behind bullet-proof glass. We hope the mental hospital across the street will turn into high-priced condos which will make the value of our house go up though we have done nothing at all to improve things, and even though we are generally against the idea of high-priced condos and for the idea of mental health. That is what owning a home will make you use up your wishes on.

After we invented the word craughter, we counted down to zero and kissed a little bit for luck. We heard firecrackers and were delighted and said, “Oh, it’s firecrackers!” It seemed like the world had invented itself new just for us. We ran to the window but we didn’t see any pink and green, just our own dumb reflections staring back.

“Come on,” you said, tugging my hand, “it’s late.” The t-shirt you wore said, “I Choo Choo Choose You,” and had a picture of a locomotive. I watched you fall asleep to the sound of small firearms, pretending they were fire-crackers and for some reason I wasn’t afraid even though the guns were shooting off and the mental patients were moaning in their beds. I am sure this is what it is to invent love over and over and over again.

Marie Potoczny lives in Richmond, VA. Her work has appeared in Denver Quarterly, Appalachee Review, Sycamore Review, and many other fine places of words.