In a corner of the living room, an old woman in a yellow sweater stained with spaghetti sauce knits a long, pink scarf. It hangs like a tongue crushed repeatedly under the mahogany rocking chair. The radio champions another dishwashing detergent then preaches the importance of fixing your pets. She clicks it off and hums to herself a tune from her childhood. A runaway watches from outside, his faded overalls drenched. Like any stray, he comes around only when it rains. The woman shuffles over to the dining room table. In her house are flowers, in her hands shears. She lifts the blossoms one at a time, snips a few inches off the bottom of the stems. She sets the silver shears on the green amputations like tinsel on a Christmas tree. She heads over to the kitchen, pours milk into a black bowl, and sets it out on the porch. The boy slinks around front. He laps it up quietly, his cat eyes shining.
Michael Schmeltzer earned an MFA from the Rainier Writing Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University. He helps with A River & Sound Review and was a finalist for the Crab Creek Review Poetry Contest, Jane Kenyon Poetry Prize, and Richard Hugo House New Works Competition. His work appears in New York Quarterly, New Delta Review, Water~Stone Review, Hawai’i Pacific Review, and Main Street Rag, among others. He lives in Seattle.