On Vacation

by Elizabeth Thorpe


They’re not talking much. The crabgrass is rough on her bare feet. Sheets snap on the line, billow, go slack. Seaweed clings to the anchor line. She forgets to put sunscreen on her stomach, and burns. She soaks in the claw-foot bathtub. The bell buoy clangs. On the wall is a mural of evergreens.

She reads a book about diving horses at Coney Island. He fishes for mackerel. They don’t mow their lawn. The grass grows as high as the swing seats.

The sky is so dark the window is a mirror. With no TV the nights stretch long. Rain on the roof. Foghorn. Wind. She scrapes fish scales off the plates.

The couch is stiff. Her feet are cold, he does not warm them.

The windjammers flock into the hot harbor. They watch from the deck. His beer sweats. She pulls her hair off her neck. Clean white sails, free of dirt. For a moment, she is buoyed.


Elizabeth Thorpe is the author of “Cities” (Texture Press, 2016.) Creative work has appeared in such magazines as Painted Bride Quarterly, Press 1, the Maine Review, and many others. A professor at Drexel University, Thorpe has been a faculty member at the Port Townsend Writers’ Conference for over a decade, and does manuscript consulting work through Kahini.