Page 65 - WTP VOl. VIII #7
P. 65

 aged to stand straight before she toppled forward and collapsed with her arms outstretched across the table, knocking two chairs onto their sides, send- ing the fruit bowl skidding off the edge, its red glass smashing into bits.
The woman’s body sank back on itself, like liquid streaming off the table, and hit the floor with a loud thud that made the copper pot up on the wall hop off its nail and clatter down onto the counter. There was a short click as the bread popped in the toaster, and the sharp smell of the toast was instantly dispersed and whipped away to nothing by the cold air that poured through the broken window. The woman lay on her left side. She was completely still. Only her hair was moved and gently lifted by the outdoor air that blew and circled past her.
The band ended its march, and in the room there was the sound of water furiously boiling, hissing at the sides of the hot pan, and dishes shifting in the sink, floating up or falling through the rising level of soap- covered water as it reached the top and poured from one sink over to the other.
By one p.m. the sky was cloudy. There were no shad- ows on the kitchen floor. The cat stood in the door- way, sniffing the cold air that filled the room. The wa- ter on the stove had boiled away completely, and the
blackened pan gave off a burnt, metallic smell. Out- doors, the birds were back, filling the yard and crowd- ing to the feeder. Their cries came loudly through the broken window. The cat moved into the room warily. She kept her body low to the floor as she moved forward with crouched, furtive steps. Sometimes she stopped abruptly, nervous and staring, as she wove her way across the strew of glass, pieces of fruit, and fallen chairs until she reached the woman. With a quick, bob- bing motion the cat sniffed the woman’s face, moving her nose across the woman’s cheek up to her forehead and into her hair. She sniffed carefully and deeply, as though she had become oblivious to the cold room, the sizzle on the stove, and the water overflowing in the sink. Then the kitchen telephone began to ring, the red hot pan upon the stove let out a loud, explosive CRACK, and the cat leapt up and bounded from the room.
A man was speaking on the radio. Out in the yard it had begun to snow. Some jarring sound or unexpect- ed sight made all the birds fly up together from the ground in a dark crowd, and in an instant they had disappeared from view.
Eight of Wilbur’s stories have appeared in The Yale Review. Others have been published by Ploughshares, New Letters, The Georgia Review, The Iowa Review, and elsewhere. Her work has has twice been chosen for The Pushcart Prize.
  Scrap Paper and Woods 2
mixed media collage 23'' x 30'' By Sandy Litchfield

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