Post Road Magazine #10

Falling Objects: Chicago -Gail Siegel

A wedding bouquet sails down two flights, dropping lavender petals, from the top of a twisting staircase.

Four pieces of concrete, one the

size of a man’s palm, break off the high walls of Wrigley Field, barely missing a fan and sparing him for another game.

The architecture tour boat cruising down the Chicago River glides under the Kinzie Street Bridge, and passengers are doused with a brownish-yellow liquid let loose from the bowels of a bus. Rumor has it that it’s a rock and roll bus, the Dave Matthews Band bus, though their driver firmly denies it.

James is strolling down Michigan Avenue in a crisp, new, white oxford cloth shirt when a flock of pigeons stirs from a hotel ledge roost. It’s a block later, when he glances down, that he finds his shirt covered in shit. You once thought you might fall in love with James. When he laughs through this story, at his petty disaster, you are in love, if only for an instant.

In the South Loop, the el tracks parallel an insurance building, a red metal monument to bad taste. Just after your train lurches past, an upper window cracks, and breaks out of its frame. It flies through the air, an invisible Frisbee. A young mother makes the catch with her neck. It slices her head off her shoulders.

You picture a clean cut. No blood, no gore. You picture it wrong. She was up from Mexico, clutching her small child’s hand, hurrying to an interview. You’ll never know if she let go or if a horrified passerby pried her fingers from his grasp. You’ll never know how far from her body her head fell aground. You'll never know how bloody, how terrifying, what gore.

Meteors leave luminous trails of azure and emerald in the inky night sky. They brush so near to earth that a fat man in his yard at 1 AM hears them crackle like sparklers.

When the train conductor punches the upper-level tickets, card-stock confetti floats into your hair. You’re napping and don’t notice. Those nights, a child picks tiny pieces from your curls: a crescent moon, or a star, or a pattern like a dagger. It's a calendar of shapes, a symbol for each day.

A fly ball's coming hard and the sun is in your eyes. You run; you leap. You reach reach reach reach.

Gail Segel's work has appeared or is forthcoming in StoryQuarterly, Salamander, The North Dakota Quarterly, Zoetrope All-Story Extra, 3am Magazine, The Salt River Review, Tattoo Highway, Literary Potpourri, Night Train, Quick Fiction, FRiGG, and Lost on Purpose, an anthology from Seal Press (February 2005).

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