The Landing

Sarah Carson

I am on the landing when Mom asks Dad what the problem is. The carpet
is new, and the polyester scratches my face as I lay my ear closer to the
edge of the stairs. He says it has something to do with the way she eats
her ice cream, the tacos she makes that are not really tacos, the paintings
of mountains that look more like hills. Then there’s a silence that I think
means something other than silence. Next, a “No, I will not go to
counseling,” a “No, I do not think that I have changed.” In the months
that follow, strangers will see the sign out front and knock on the sliding
glass doors. “Mom is at night school,” we’ll tell them. “Dad lives in an
apartment across town.” We’ll write the asking price down on a scrap of
notebook paper. “This is how you turn on the garbage disposal,” we’ll
explain. “This is how you remove the cover from the pool.”

Sarah Carson was born and raised in Flint, Michigan but now lives in Chicago with her dog, Amos, who has recently learned to swim. She is the author of the chapbooks Before Onstar (Etched Press, 2009), Twenty-Two (Finishing Line Press, 2010), and When You Leave (H_NGM_N, forthcoming in 2012).