Brad Modlin


When Simone fell sick, the mayor organized a fundraising marathon. Everyone in town got involved, including the Eiffel Tower, who special-ordered four very large running shoes. Her best friend was a trout in the River Seine. He couldn’t be in the race of course, but he liked listening to Eiffel talk about it. She was very excited. She imagined herself on the front page of Le Monde, crossing the finish line in her sporty-yet-stylish pink running shoes. Many children and tourists would want to take pictures with her.

She had ordered the shoes from Holland, and when they finally arrived the day of the run, they turned out to be wooden clogs with tulips painted on them. The lack of proper arch support was atrocious. She had a very heavy upper body and needed good padding; she would not be able to participate in the marathon. She sat by the river and cried for herself. Well, things don’t always go as planned, she said with a metallic sigh.

Simone would agree, said the fish, catching her tears.




The Thompsons’ Snowman Senses His Thaw

Be grateful your eyes are inset and frozen: It’s easier with only a crescent of creeping green visible.

It’s also easier if you can forget, ignore your arm’s lightness from the fallen broom. Don’t think of the textured fingerprints that pressed the coal into your chest during the birthing hour.

Or after, the sky—its perfect gray every afternoon, the slight wiggle of your twig fingers. Maybe it’s better to leave before you tire of being amazed. (In this moment, what do we have but these half-empty consolations?)

Because in truth when the circles of your self are puddled tomorrow, the ones with skin will swoosh along the sidewalk, whistling, and laugh right past you. After all, the Thompsons lost your name that first day as soon as the photo clicked.

Try to believe in the circle of reincarnation—consider the fame of storm clouds, the view from an infinity of ocean. (Sincerity is difficult today, what with that false-hope chill in the remnant air.) But this denying can’t last.

What is expected is hardest to accept. Be honest. You always knew gentle grass would one day pierce the softness that made you.


Maybe warmth is like comfort. Maybe losing shape means reaching to everywhere.