by Larkin Vonalt

An Exercise.

(Let me see if I can still write “short.” And no, these words don’t count.)

It begins with leather work gloves, the name inked at the wrist. They are left behind in the Library Reading Room. Their owner seems inordinately pleased at their return. The banter is comfortable. A beer? I suggest. It is coffee instead, and a long evening together watching my hound in false labor, following false pregnancy. She chooses a rolled up pair of socks to be her puppy. Nearly 20 years later, the dog is gone, and mourned. The gloves are tucked in the basket on the closet shelf, their sweet owner napping on the living room sofa, waiting for me to finish.