It’s still yesterday somewhere, almost tomorrow somewhere else. One minute, you’re getting a fistful of sunshine slamming you in the face, next minute, it’s softened to butter. Time zones are the problem, everything different everywhere else and I’m trying to explain this to Charley, who is always walking towards New Zealand, where it’s tomorrow and he’d be younger than everyone else. I tell him now is always now, that time isn’t a butterfly and he just nods and turns on the Weather Channel. Watching for tornadoes in faraway places. Charley is enough of a tornado for me, scooping me up in his lovearms and slamming me down to the ground. Sometimes I wake up next day, I am wreckage, I am bonetwist, and look over there by the side of the road, my heart a pulsing pocketbook filled with how I could have hid from him in a bathtub, how one minute he is sunshine at five o’clock and next minute he’s midnight and I can have all the go-bags I want, I can pack medicine and extra clothes and be ready to run at a moment’s notice, but I look out the window, nothing but a stitch of cloud, and I can’t tell how bad it will get, because when I look into Charley’s eyes, nothing but soft blue hope, and there’s no possible way I could have known.
Francine Witte’s poetry and fiction have appeared in Smokelong Quarterly, Wigleaf, Mid-American Review, and Passages North. Her latest books are Dressed All Wrong for This (Blue Light Press,) The Way of the Wind (AdHoc fiction,) and The Theory of Flesh (Kelsay Books.) Her chapbook, The Cake, The Smoke, The Moon (flash fiction) will be published by ELJ September, 2021. She is flash fiction editor for Flash Boulevard and The South Florida Poetry Journal. She lives in NYC.