Anser Journal

Tiptoe.

By Alyson Tait

A lifetime ago, before the earth tiptoed around the sun, I sat by the fire with a book in my hands.
It was a book about oceans, salt, and old gods reaching their hands into the new world. It was the
first big rainstorm of the season, and even with my vodka, blanket, music and alternate reality, I
couldn’t get warm enough to ignore the sounds.

A different age, in another place, I wouldn’t have wanted to. I would have sat on the porch with
whoever I could drag, and we would reach out our hands — grabbing at the torrents until the
desert ground drank it up away from us. I would throw my blanket to the ground and dance until
it soaked my bones, and I’d have to shower just to shave it all away from my skin. Back when I
passed by cactuses on my way to the corner store, I’d beg for rain and thunder. The sound is
different by the fire, near the water, and far away from it all.

Rain becomes nostalgia.
Loneliness and memories.
The way it slaps against the cement and crawls / down / the / windows / is
Pure anxiety.

A crash of thunder puts the fear of God into my belly. That part isn’t new. I recognize that as my
face scrunches at my straw. My fingers send a message, and then I pull the book back up to my
face, trying to concentrate on descriptions of gowns made for grieving princesses. I’m really just
listening for the notification.

I’m thinking about monsoons in July.
I’m picturing the T.V. reflected in her eyes.
I’m shuddering at the thought of the next boom of thunder
and as lightning strikes somewhere past my window —
I flinch.
Body jumps
and my book drops on my cup when my phone sings.

It was an old god reaching into my world to tell me
The rain is just in my head.
The rain is just a
Simile / metaphor / tactile representation of
The things I never say out loud.
Even when the rain is actually a downpour washing away the chalk on my front steps.

It took a dozen paper towels to clean up the mess, and by the time I finished, I couldn’t even
pretend to focus on the words. The pages were soggy, and I scolded myself. So I put the book
away and thought about crawling into bed. The forecast had a clear sky the next day, and maybe
waking up to a blinding sun was what I’d needed. Maybe it too

would remind me of the desert.


Alyson Tait lives in Maryland, where she got married, had her daughter, and began her writing journey. She has appeared in (mac)ro(mic), Twin Pies Lit, and most recently in Pyre Magazine. You can find her on Amazon, and Twitter @rudexvirus1.