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By the Adirondacks

Julia Gerhardt

we sat atop a bench, under a tree thick with leaves, imbricated, painted in night, near fooling us into forgetting it was spring.  but it was there.  beneath our feet, in our breath.  it was easy to remember the weather, when it made me want to move closer to you.  i always did, then.  yet, i did not know how fear mimicked the cold, when the living things go, hiding, into whatever warmth they could find.  was i supposed to know that when the time came to shed my coat, to notice new freckles, to beg for the night, i would come alive?  i spoke of my father, you spoke of yours.  i shed the skin of other.  i sprouted the wings of another.  perhaps i was too scared to kiss you then, knowing there was a possibility of falling into my own reflection, that you were just a dream.  i looked above at the second night sky.  i’m just going to pretend spiders don’t exist, i said.  you laughed at my unflinching, foolish logic.  i’m getting cold, i said.  so we stood, preparing for the walk uphill.


Julia Gerhardt is a writer living in Chicago.  She was nominated for the Best Microfiction Anthology 2020 and Best Small Fictions Anthology 2020. She has previously been published in Comstock Review, Okay Donkey, Rogue Agent, and others. Visit her at

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