The Sleeping Porch
By Arielle Silver
The converted second story deck with three walls of windows overlooked a vegetable garden, pie cherry tree and a row of lilacs whose blooms fell like snow at the furthermost edge of the backyard. The petals perfumed the summer breeze that wafted through the room. I moved in.
From the ribbon collection at the art store where I measured bolts of fabric and advised customers on which glue to buy for their projects, I swiped half yards of grosgrain, satin, organdy, and velvet in purples and wine-reds, and hand-stitched them together for a curtain at the foot of my bed. Through summer I sometimes slept on the porch with the boy I had loved for three years—the first boy I ever loved—and sometimes we slept in his bedroom downstairs off the entryway.
I stitched my ribbon-curtain through fall and the holiday fuss, but it fell forgotten at the bottom of my sewing bag after one night in his darkened bedroom when the first boy I had ever loved spooned his body around mine and laid his palm on my thigh. He whispered that he’d kissed a girl he knew from the art studio, and I froze from his palm print upward. My body shrank to the size of the crumble atop a sugar-dusted doughnut. I don’t know why that image came to me of a chocolate Entenmann’s doughnut that I hadn’t tasted in years, but I asked from my crumb-smallness how many times they had kissed. The boy I loved lied. Only once, he said from a far-off distance, like he and my crumb-self were stars apart. How was it his palm still burned my icy leg? How was it I still had legs? I banged my fists against his ribcage like he was a house, because his heart had once told me it would be my home for a lifetime.
About the Author
Arielle Silver has been nominated for a 2016 Pushcart Prize and has appeared in Jet Fuel Review, Brevity, Gulf Stream, From Sac, Lilith Magazine, Moment, and The Poet’s Billow. She is currently at work on a memoir about (step) mother/ing. She received her MFA and Post-MFA in Pedagogy from Antioch University Los Angeles, where she served as Editor-in-chief of Lunch Ticket and is currently adjunct faculty in the MFA and Undergraduate Divisions. www.ariellesilver.com
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