Laura Goldstein


A wall came down hard onto the street. It was hot out and the wall came out of nowhere, seemed invisible when it happened. It was windy and the heavy wall just seemed to go slowly downwards, stopped by the street, but not slow enough for everyone to get out of the way. For some of them, it scraped the skin but didn’t break it and couldn’t really be believed because there wasn’t any blood, so some of them went on their way.

Then it was ten past so in five minutes everyone would take five minutes to eat. Some of the people would spread out into the park with their lunches. People in the park share the possibility of listening and the equal possibility of not hearing the contours of what is and isn’t shared. People inside and outside hear the sound the hill makes stretched under the park’s clock differently.

At the post office there wasn’t any line but everyone still had to wait. There wasn’t a person in sight, only over the telephones, each conversation fast and static. A woman says into a phone, “I’m doing everything I can so I don’t need any criticism right now and you’re bugging me so you need to quit it. When the sun goes down I’ll bring you some soup. On my way home I’ll call you again. If you could get the mail, if you could be ready for me”. She bought two big bowls of soup to go.


She is a bit of punctuation that got crammed into a roiling day.

That summer hit everyone like a brick that fit into two years at the same time perfectly. Last year, two tall walls started falling. This summer it finally hit us. A worker looking into a recess said, “Well, it’s a well we’d do well to leave well enough alone.”


A woman in pressed pants is very good with details. She likes to replace them gradually with different types of candy until everything’s edible and shaped with all sorts of sugars colored by dyes. Then she’s pretty satisfied.

A man in goggles was sequestered. He dragged a plant into a room as others painted it with hot gas. “Poor plant”, he said. He had the plant to make a point. He made it. Then he wheeled in a plexiglass shield.

An image floats by in the sky. Thunder follows the plane. Listening or thinking the crowd moves towards the bridge and each decides it’s the other’s turn to go first. They go, across the bridge slowly.

A park pours out beyond its boundaries, a topography of ridges red and blue. Small pores bristle. A tougher part smiles out slightly, starts to hide what’s too new.

Bones are bright internal eyes, pause and prove, brim with movement, then move.


On television, a pop star talks articulately about her process. She’s been called everything from songstress to singer to vocalist. “Well, what’s your favorite?” the woman across from her asks. “Chocolate chip”, she responds.

The man in goggles notices that the wall is bleeding into the basement. He looks at the computer, but it can only tell him what’s happening in the room.

A child with a lot of braids runs her hand down a long fence covered by a tarp that extends an entire block. Behind it, there’s gravel in a pit the size of bugs, the size of doorknobs, the size of doors, the size of rooms, the size of buildings.

A man with a guitar was screaming in the underground station. Everyone recognized
the songs but he was really screaming some parts. They wished he would stop screaming like that but he went on and on and the train didn’t come and after a while they started wishing he would scream more and more. After a while they couldn’t wait until he screamed again.


A woman on the bus is reading a book. Chapter One: “Surround Yourself With a Plexiglass Shield”.

Some of the people wonder if the park is in fact spreading or disappearing. Sometimes it is best to just rest and watch the rest happen. Some of the people want to look inside it to see the curious edge between the solid top and the broken underneath. How can they coexist? It changes so slowly, each time it changes someone says, “some things never change”.


Steps lead up the side of a hill. Up there is a vista. All the water runs down the hill in streams that some people drink from. People in a valley look up. People up there are in such small groups that they are often alone. The economy of love is split into two values, a person and the people. The hill and the valley still couldn’t be on equal ground if the land were flat, when the land becomes flat.


Now she’s writing a novel about the economy of love. She focuses her eyes behind her glasses. She’s in it.

A woman on television says, “some people take the meat right off the bone”.


A bruise the size of god fills the sky and seeps into evening, ruining its bright blue skin.

A woman puts a touch of oil in a casserole. Chocolate chip cookies for dessert.

A woman on the phone says to the man in goggles, “if you could get the mail…”

Some of the people experience a dead anticipation of culmination and then
a culmination.

A man on television says, “The good news is that by the time you notice a bruise,
it is well on its way”.


With her nervous laugh, she gives herself away every time.

Some of the people die all the time.

The sound of boys emerges from a side street. Small boys still just knee-high.
They clatter and bang between two buildings. The great sound of broken glass starts up. The sun bakes the glass into the ground.

A woman on the bus was reading a book. Chapter Two: “Summer. Heat cooks the body up into a state where debris starts to collect between cells. Dark fruit cleans out the blood. Cut and discard any bruised sections. A bite of a plum will do you fine.”

Some people are sitting in the new park watching a building get put together brick by brick at the height of the summer. A woman with purple hair slowly makes a comment about the streets being cleaner here now, after there had been such a mess.

Laura Goldstein recently graduated with an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her performances and installations have been exhibited in Philadelphia, Ireland, Chicago and Michigan. She's been published online in The Little Magazine, Great Works, MPRSND, Womb and PFS Post and in print in Combo, Dorothy's Elbow and XConnect. Her new Chapbook, out from Hex Press, is titled Ice In Intervals. She teaches writing at Loyola and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

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