Image by Gordon MacDiarmid from Pixabay

Alone Together

You hand out names to the hummingbirds that squabble
a few feet away—on the patio, perching
and racing past like fighter pilots, divebombing
the red plastic feeder that drips
and sways on a

We eat breakfast and we watch as sparrows
greedily vacuum the food you pour into
a shallow dish each morning. And when they catch us
peeking at them, they scatter, splashing
seeds—sunflower, safflower, millet, milo, flax,
cracked corn.

Off to my next meeting, you say.

We work a dozen feet apart nowadays. And
you haul it all—laptop and mouse, notepad, and books—
to the bedroom. I follow you with your chair to
the place where you attend these meetings
(and job interviews).
Where we plot our escape every night.
Alone together.


Between us passes the prime of day
As we sit, 12 or 13 ft apart and
When the sun begins to fade, we go outside
And I hold your hand as we cross the street
Neighbors nearing on both sides
We stand in the road—and let them pass
In search of someone who will tell them
What they want to know, they stare
But we have nothing to offer
Your mother says we’re lucky
She reminds us that
What we want and what we need are
We agree but that doesn’t stop us
Wishing waiting wanting waning

The Heavy Pages

Here is your father, she said, and
She ripped him out, handing him to
Me like a dentist pulling a

I was pregnant, she said. Maybe
The last one I took with him
Before you were born.
Photograph was rigid and

Impeccably square. I held it
Up to the light. The image
Captured them on the side of the
Road, a foot apart, along the

Passenger side of a faded
Yellow Volkswagen. That’s the car,
She said. He lived in it after
They split up. Told him to take his

, she said. In the photo,
His hair was wavy, sideburns long,
Mustache dark, T-shirt blue, hand
Hovering away from her

Stomach. I guess she wasn’t too
Far along. Pretty and young, in
A green blouse with frilly sleeves, my
Mother’s hair passed her shoulders, dark

Brown and straight. Distracted, she looked
Off into the distance. In the
Overexposed photo, my parents
Became ghosts, doused with a

Bucket of light. That little
Yellow car hovering behind
Them, a glimmering mirage. He
Was so different then
, she said,
Absently turning the heavy

Black pages of the old photo
Album. My visit nearly
Over, I slipped the photo
Into my jacket pocket and

Kissed her cheek.

A neurodivergent writer, Jason M. Thornberry is currently pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing at Chapman University. His work has appeared in The Stranger, Praxis, Adirondack Review, Dissident Voice, In Parentheses, and elsewhere. Jason’s work examines disability and social justice. He reads poetry for TAB and enjoys birdwatching, especially crows.

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