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July 22, 2006

The fog is lifting over the salt marsh behind Petey’s. The waitress sets down my carton of fish chowder along with a plastic spoon and two bags of oyster crackers. Blonde hair piled on her head and wearing a bright pink hoodie, she smiles and the lines around her eyes say lived-in and ‘welcome.’

She turns to the couple at the next table and they chat about someone they all know. Locals. The summer crowds are long gone. I empty the tiny paper square of pepper onto my chowder, wondering if my parents came here often.

by Leslee of Third House Journal

Categories: Short Shorts Tags:
  1. July 22, 2006 at 10:24 pm

    Great setup for that last, participial phrase!

    As I am with so many of these shorts, I’m ready to hear more.

  2. July 22, 2006 at 11:08 pm


    me too.

  3. July 23, 2006 at 1:47 pm

    So many wonderful, telling details here, Leslee, in so few words. I love the paper square of pepper, and the fact that the chowder comes in a paper carton. I can almost smell the ocean.

  4. July 23, 2006 at 11:56 pm

    I can clearly picture every detail in my mind! That last phrase leads to a LONG story, Leslee, a feeling of expectation, like waiting for the speaker to keep going,

  5. July 24, 2006 at 6:22 pm

    Thanks, all. I took my lead from those whose “short shorts” were here before me – all left me wanting to know more.

  6. MB
    July 24, 2006 at 6:29 pm

    Oh me too, Leslee… what they all said!

  7. July 27, 2006 at 6:17 am

    It’s funny, I always notice things about a piece once it’s published that I never saw while it was in preparation – or at least didn’t focus on. This morning, I’m savoring the musical qualities of lines like “The summer crowds are long gone. I empty the tiny paper square of pepper onto my chowder” – that’s pure poetry, Leslee!

    I think that feeling of wanting more that others mention is something I look for in writing. Even a long novel should leave one feeling that way.

  8. July 28, 2006 at 7:51 pm

    Thanks, Dave. Those lines felt the best when I wrote them. I should remember that, and the part about leaving something unsaid – I think there was a discussion about this elsewhere.

  9. August 1, 2006 at 9:35 am

    Oh, wonderful, wonderful! I adore that last line.

  10. August 1, 2006 at 9:05 pm

    ‘the lines around her eyes say ‘lived-in’ and welcome’ – very nice

    i liked the retrospective feel of this poem – looking back to the time of our parents, i mean

  11. August 3, 2006 at 2:39 am

    I like it too. I like the way it works like some kind of snapshot that manages to be both external and internal. I also agree that the last line is great, but not in isolation, because it works how it works because of what came before.

    Thank you for publishing this; a lovely work.

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