“Sumter” by Jenn Blair

Jenn Blair


Are you joking, are you joking? she hissed.
It’s not unromantic; it just means our eyes are open, he replied.
She was furious. He could not understand why. Most of
the visible brickwork was original. They got on the ferry,
her not saying anything, huddled by a closed up stroller.
He blamed it on nostalgia. His father pointing out to a stone
blip on the horizon as they stood on the Battery. To him,
it was a jewel. A place which had acquired meaning
even if by terrible suffering. But really, was there any
other way meaning could accumulate—and stick?
To him, it held the sweet melancholy essence of itself in
a way no overpriced Italian restaurant could. She still
wasn’t looking at him, not even when the narrator
informed them the fort was once a lighthouse.
He nervously ran his tongue over his teeth, feeling a
walnut piece wedged near his left incisor. Leftover
from the fudge shop. A girl saw a dolphin and shrieked
in delight. “Where the Civil War began,” an old lady
read aloud off her brochure. I ought to still want her, he
mused. She hadn’t looked at the ring. He suddenly
was forced to notice her socks didn’t match her shoes.

from Rattle #35, Summer 2006

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