Cold winds fall down from the mountains, turns on the river and runs into the trees. Soon
the sun will drop into the ocean. Rain coats the world in water. She says she’s dying.
I don’t know her well, but we smoke together sometimes on her balcony. We sit
on the upturned milk crates and watch the wind tear the smoke into ribbons.

“I’m ready for Jesus,” she says.

I don’t usually have time for Christians. I don’t have time for magic and faith. The world runs
on the laws of light and dark. She sees demons and angels in the trees, the clouds.

“The pain,” she says. “I hurt all of the time.”

I smoke and wonder at her courage. Nothing bothers her anymore.

“I’m so tired,” she says. “Bradley’s waiting for me.”

Bradley’s her husband, dead a year now.

“He loved me,” she says. “He loved me my whole life.”

I wish I knew what that was like. I wish I could say
that this life was more than the habitual waking in the morning.




William L. Alton was born November 5, 1969 and started writing in the Eighties while incarcerated in a psychiatric prison. Since then his work has appeared in Main Channel Voices, World Audience andBreadcrumb Scabs among others. In 2010, he was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He has published one book titled Heroes of Silence. He earned both his BA and MFA in Creative Writing from Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon where he continues to live. You can find him at William Alton


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