A Visit

I’m in Massachusetts, but it smells like winter in Wisconsin. That’s my ex-girlfriend’s apartment: the back of an old white house. It shouldn’t smell Like Milwaukee. Maybe pumpkin. Or how her hair had the scent of oatmeal after a shower. She doesn’t live here anymore, though some shadow of a better me still sits on these steps, smoking, snapping a rubber band against the city paper. Maybe it’s the beer on my breath that’s like Wisconsin. The last time I was here, years ago, a fire truck was parked outside Dunkin’ Donuts. I remember that because of the pumpkin muffins that month. Good muffins.

She kicked me out after the affair was found delicately folded into an envelope, guarded between two volumes of Good Cooking. It’s my fault, really. She knew I never used recipes but cooked by taste instead. She put the books and letter in a brown paper bag with some toothpaste.

She kicked me out just as an ambulance sped by. Never heard what she said. I was a bit slower in those days, standing there on the steps, watching her lips snap like balloons.

The newspaper is a month old, so the apartment must be empty.

I want to look in the windows at the counters we never used cutting boards on, see the crooked refrigerator door with all the magnets. But it smells like Milwaukee and I hate Massachusetts.


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