THINGS YOU SHOULDN’T TOUCH
Texts that say, “Don’t stop by for unexpected visits.” His nightstand cleared of clutter except for a
candle and a book of spells. A plate of chocolate-covered strawberries in the freezer. A rent release
form found in his leather coat pocket. Clandestine chats with his lover via OkCupid. A draft of his
weekly column trashing you and pining for her. An email from a fan complimenting him on his writing.
An email to a “friend” he cheated with while you were in Europe. An email confessing a prior arrest.
The contact info your lawyer gave you for a private investigator. The Frank Miller painting, Free to Be
You and Me LP, and the Little Prince plaque he found at a garage sale. The hand-printed wine bottle
from your first date. The rosary and Moomin book he gave you for Christmas. The fedora he wore
to the first day of class when he told you there are only two storylines: man enters town, man exits
town. His box of graphic novels you exchange at the half-price bookstore for two coffee-table books
on women and the writing life.
Laura Sweeney facilitates Writers for Life in central Iowa. She represented the Iowa Arts Council at the First International Teaching Artist’s Conference in Oslo, Norway. Her poems and prose appear in fifty plus journals in the States, China, Britain, and Canada. Her recent awards include a residency at Sundress Publication’s Firefly Farms, a scholarship to the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and participation in the Kaz Creative Nonfiction Conference.