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and then there was that age of nothing


All your culture is geared towards making you afraid. Afraid of your own dark rubbish, the peasant colic in your breast.

The waiter startles you with his Italian presentation of the night’s specials. Did he say duck? Hawks nest under your tongue, fill your mouth with down, with darkness. You feel alone, suddenly. You don’t want to order the wrong kind of wine. You don’t know what comes with the duck. All of the rough things you’ve said, all your life, you now wear like an old robe in the morning, hole beginning at the shoulder.


The children are grown—but the pottery classes are full of strange emptiness. The chambers and ovens echo. Your hands fail to center the clay. You have failed to center the world. You are free to do everything, but how do you begin? You call the new doctor and ask for a note. He says there is nothing wrong with your heart. He doesn’t know anything about souls. You should call the shoe repairman. You should get on with meeting new people.


The only news is how beautiful it is in the old world, doing the old things. How noon stretches into evening. How it takes forever just to wake up, to go to sleep. How at the end of the morning, routine crumples, groans, starts its shaky motor all over again.

hannah craig lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Her work has recently appeared in Fence, Prairie Schooner, the Norton Anthology of Hint Fiction, and elsewhere.

photo credit: Sandra Neumann