These Clouds Are Not the Same Clouds; This Sky Is Not the Same Sky
And you will, in a month or two, find your wife lying on her back in the road and lay yourself down beside her, stare up at the sky together. There will be the sound of truck engines from the nearby highway, birdsong from the trees, one that goes hoo-hoo-ha, over and over, that you might have asked your wife about before. What kind of bird is that, you would have said. Is that a mating song? The pavement will be warm against your back.
You will lie down in the road beside your wife, and she will say: This is what he saw, right? The last thing he saw, looking up at the sky, the clouds, the sun, so small and far away.
Your hand will tremble and shift toward hers, pocked with gravel, brush your wife’s hand, then clasp her fingers in yours, your two hands touching like something separate from the rest of you, your grip tightening and tightening. You will stay like this, clutching, you will think, clutching each other, until she shakes her hand loose, rolls away onto her side, whispers something you can’t make out. And this will be the last time you touch.
Cathy Ulrich doesn’t know what the birds are called that make that sound. Her writing has been published in a variety of journals, including Monkeybicycle, Booth, (b)OINK, and right here in Jellyfish Review.
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Image: Engin Akyurt