having ceased to exist or live
In the far back of the crawl-in closet—there, in the far, far back—is an old black spy suitcase made by Legionite, some
defunct company from the 1970s.
relating to a name derived from a person
A name tag from an extinct restaurant named Cup-N-Saucer etched with the gaily dancing
eponymous cartoon characters and the word DIANE.
of a vivid red to reddish-orange color
Three marble signature stamps and a lacquered black compact that unscrews to reveal a
vermillion-red ink pad
impairing strength and vitality
I will become dizzy with tears and fall, and my head will strike the nearby bronze figurine of a bronco bucking an astonished infant cowboy and inflict a
one or more circles of light seen around a luminous object
Before me I see the bright
corona of her eyes, the wispy baby hairs at her temple, a little mole on her chest.
become weaker, in strength, value, or magnitude
The air in the room seems to
attenuate to the rising and falling of our chests.
rise and move, as in waves
The white curtains from the open windows
billow back and forth without a sound. Back and forth, moved by the breathing of the warm sun-swept wind.
indulgent in immoral or improper behavior
The High School Era is slowly disintegrating into a pre-apocalyptic orgy of
a tendency to be negligent and uncaring
The High School Era is slowly disintegrating into a pre-apocalyptic orgy of wanton
dereliction. People ditch school to have lunch off-campus. The bell rings, but people ignore it to continue lying on the grass or whatever.
inclined to or marked by drowsiness
An hour before school ends, me and Joy conspire to get to the
somnolent Consta early to see how many kisses we can fit in before Q arrives to ride with us.
(old-fashioned or informal) in a little while
“For here approacheth
anon your humble servant Q with such light step that the snowflake herself wouldst grow heavy with envy at missing—”
free of guilt; not subject to blame
Mom peeks out and flashes a frown at the sight of Joy in the
marked by balance or equilibrium and readiness for action
Q and I still stand
poised with our Bags of Holding as Joy springs up and down.
with strong emotion or zeal
The Oobleck is a big ball of ruinous, sticky goo that arrives and almost destroys everything after a king, bored with his too-perfect realm,
fervently wishes for something—anything—new.
capable of being done with means at hand
It’s pre-graduation madness. Has to be. There’s only one restaurant that’s remotely
smile affectedly or derisively
She offers me a
become of; happen to
And a strange spell must have
befallen me, because now Joy is carefully kissing my face all over. “Oh yubs,” she’s saying. “I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry.”
characterized by unresponsiveness or lack of movement
And look at Q, just kind of examining his sneakers under his purple robe in a
catatonic state, probably looking for some clue about why he never made a move with his mystery girl.
transparent container in which plants and animals are kept
I have in my bag this glass teardrop-shaped
terrarium filled with moss and lichen as a gift for Joy. I will give it to her, and I know she’ll love it more than any bouquet of flowers.
journey across or pass over
It’s easier coming down than going up, because of the climb. But I remember—my ten-year-old body remembers for me—how to brace myself on the massive I-beam and shimmy up to the narrow diagonal cross support, which, once
traversed on tiptoe using the square rivets for extra grip, leads me up to the only scary part: a pull-up from a bar with nothing beneath it for fifteen feet.
generally incompetent and ineffectual
Joy is a campfire dying before my very eyes, and I am
inept when it comes to campfires.
“It doesn’t matter,” I say, and the last of our embers goes out.
But I don’t want them out. I stomp and stomp on them, because the moron inside me believes that stomping is the best way to
stoke a fire back to life.
the act of calling to a meeting
I could sleep until September and wake up just in time for
explore, often with the goal of finding something
One day three curséd valkyries ambush my character while I’m
reconnoitering a shattered keep on my own, and my character doesn’t even get the chance to counterattack.
effusively or insincerely emotional
I laugh aloud, then want to cry, because an insufferably
maudlin part of me wants to believe she wore the shirt for me to say, I will always love you.
a decorative pin
In the bag are three fine silk scarves, a crystal
brooch, a jar of Dijon mustard from Dijon, a bottle of Champagne from Champagne.
an abstracted state of absorption
reverie is interrupted by a rustling in the bushes at the far end of the backyard.
release from entanglement or difficulty
extricates herself from the bushes with a graceless kick, then smooths her shirt.
deserving of scorn or disrespect
“I just want to say I’m sorry. I’m really, pathetically,
contemptibly sorry and I want you to forgive me...”
fundamental subatomic particle that has a fractional charge
“Spiritual essence, so-called nucleus of soul, like particle, physical particle. You know what is
quark? Nothing different. Atom? Nothing different, same-o same.”
requiring secret or mysterious knowledge
Meanwhile, Dad winds up for another round of free-form
prepare oneself for action or a confrontation
gird myself. Tonight is our last night together. Must maintain.
something transitory or not of lasting significance
It’s beautiful, this constellation of
suggesting the horror of death and decay
“Come on, Dad. Don’t be
“No, I’m not be
morbid,” says Dad. “Life is but a dream. My dream? So beautiful dream I’m having whole my life, God giving me..."
hesitant or lacking confidence; unsettled in mind or opinion
Curiously, his lips are softer than Joy’s. More
capable of being perceived
And yet, there’s a size and shape and quality to this dead forest that is
palpable. It is there. Like a soft breathing.
impossible to subdue
I leave the Tascam, get back in the
indomitable Consta, and head out north.
from appearances alone
Hanna and Miles are staying behind for a few more days,
ostensibly so that Mom can buy them a metric ton of baby clothes.
curved or curving in and out
I cross the parking lot to find myself in a field that dips to reveal a serpent-like wall constructed of stone. It’s a famous sculpture, apparently, one that evokes
sinuous change and unyielding permanence both at the same time.
move in a wavy pattern or with a rising and falling motion
I run my hand along its
undulating tapered top ridge as it winds left, right, left, right, left, right, left, right.