and for a minute she couldn’t breathe. Leaving the cracker-white medical arts building she drove directly to the fast, cold river and dove in. There, standing in waist deep water she reached down to the stony bottom and began flipping rocks. Within ten minutes she had collected a handful of squirming, segmented hellgrammites. At home, in their Pepsi bottle aquarium, the invertebrates rested on a high shelf in the kitchen. Night after night she fed them from new recipes, as she worked her way through The Joy Of Cooking. In the background music played, never the same song twice. Later, she burned her clothes in a cardboard box alongside pictures of old friends and a once-upon-a-time husband. It surprised sales people when she arrived at a store in an old bathrobe and left in a new one. All the while, inside her, the benign tumor sat silently.
Travis Dolence is a librarian at Minnesota State University Moorhead. His work has appeared in The MacGuffin and the chapbook The Lyrical Librarian: Verses from the Stacks, published by Consortium.