No Words are Adequate

by Linda Simoni-Wastila

Night thrums; the gentle breaths of my husband swell the dark, his exhalations sweet luxuries kindling worries of whether to bring biscuits with ham, fried chicken from Lexington Market, or a casserole of green beans and frizzled onions. Lying here, I imagine you swallowed in an infinite expanse of cooled white, your pulse a ticking reminder goading you to rise, wander shadowed rooms to salvage vestiges: the half-full mug on the counter, the flannel shirt smelling of his cologne, the crumpled towel, still-damp from this morning’s shower. With more air left uninhaled, the house must seem larger now. My bedside clock blares a digital four-oh; across our yards your bedroom light shines, a single yellow oblong piercing this darksome morn. I want to tread the hoar-bitten blades spanning us and gather you, piece you together, tell you all will be righted, but when his heart shattered in airless spasm, yours must have, too. This is what I want to do, but no crimson yet smudges the horizon, so instead I creep down my stairs and write this offering: for you, for your son, for me, as if these words matter a goddamn.


Linda Simoni-Wastila wishes words were adequate to convey life's calamities. She writes from Baltimore, mostly novels and poems and micro-mini fiction, and muses on the mind and writing here. (This offering is in memory of James, whose presence was larger than life.)