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Heavy Water

by John Chrostek

On the beach again, watching the dawn rise up out of the Jersey darkness with the seabirds screaming colors and my friends all asleep in the van, but this is all reflections on the water and I am also sleeping, seeping through the heavy water as the city lights are screaming through the fog rolling in from the bay. In the stairway exit to my Burnaby apartment complex where banana peels and cookies have been left for days on end to spite the property manager there’s nuggets of poop today and I look at them with anger and disgust and walk around them until I see him standing there, pantsless in a waking dream, and I don’t mean to scream but I do and he jolts like a corpse on a rack and runs out the door into the winter night, his wife chasing after him, two small moments in the fog. I feel so sad and thankful to see a love like that, a love that weathers madness, because I feel like my whole life has been a swim in those dark waters as the light of the blue sky changes and stable ground slips out beneath my feet, but this is all reflections on the water and I am somewhere else again, somewhere choked in smoke or was that yesterday and thinking of my home, always a different distance than it was when last I think of it, far too cold for comfort and wondering where my own pants have gone.

John Chrostek writes stories and poems. His work appears or is forthcoming in XRAY, HAD, Taco Bell Quarterly, and Blind Corner. He has lived on both coasts and up in Canada for a while, but for the moment lives in Oregon with his partner Amanda and their pets Zadie and Madeline.

Lead image: “banana peel” (via Flickr user corrine brown)