Living Room [153]

Living Room [153]
by kimberly e. ruth
The door opened then closed, slowly, the lock carefully turned and put back into its place. Where have you been, she asked. She was on the couch, her head still as a tack. The hospital, he whispered. There was an accident, baby. You smell like lavender, she said. It was a woman. Ran herself into a tree. The rain, he continued. She turned to look at him. Water was dripping down his legs. A puddle at his feet. She stood up to get a rag. She didn’t even know his name, he was saying, and she nodded, placing her hands on his rounded belly.

0 thoughts on “Living Room [153]

  1. hmm. ok. here’s what i get. i read this piece as flash fiction being in block and all rather than poetry–not that it matters. Cool use of personification starting out–‘door opened then closed’…’the lock carefully turned…’. In third line we’re introduced to the person who came thru the door–the man, a doctor i presume and husband of woman on the couch whose head was as still as a tack (good simile). The doctor husband was on-call, went to hospital to take care of woman who was driving and ran into a tree because of the rain. It’s still raining outside cause the doctor/husband is dripping wet (rain really sets a somber mood especially in night). Now here’s where it gets tricky: “She didn’t even know his name, he was saying, and she nodded, placing her hands on his rounded belly.” At first i misread the last part as ‘placing her hands on HER rounded belly’–but it was HIS rounded belly. hmm. So at first i thought the ‘tack headed lady/wife’ was pregnant with ’rounded belly’. Still, ’rounded belly’ reference leads me to believe that the woman who was in the accident WAS pregnant and when she was asked who the father was for emergency contact ‘she didn’t even know his name’. So there is a compare and contrast going on here between the doctor and his wife/girlfriend and between the accident woman and the unknown father. In line 3, the doctor/husband replies to the wife/girlfriend: “There was an accident, baby.” –not ‘babey’ as is sometimes spelled with lovers. hmm. a foreshadowing hint thru minor spelling choice? Perhaps. So, i really think the woman in the accident lost her baby–why? ‘A puddle at his feet.’–the doctor and the accident woman are one and the same thru metaphoric implication. That’s what i think. The part where the wife/girlfriend says ‘you smell like lavender’ (another simile)is just a little teaser to make reader believe for a second that the doctor has just come back from an illicit latenight affair (also set-up by the wife/girlfriend being on the couch waiting for him with ‘a head as still as a tack’. What do you guys think?
    Excellently conceived madam–my cowboy hat goes off to you!

  2. You could say there’s two ways to approach what we do with words. One is to impose limitations on what can be considered ‘quality’ writing, favoring the author’s semantic intent in an aesthetically complete ‘work’. This appears to be Joe’s favored style of writing. The other is to experiment with different effects, leaving a ‘text’ open-ended, throwing the ball into the court of the reader. Short fiction like this focuses on a brief moment that leaves a reader guessing as to its broader context, and it calls for an active reading full of creative imagination. The author may have an intent, but it leaves room for a reader to be an active participant in its reception. Which is my favored style of writing. I think the world is big enough to allow both approaches.

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