Steel By Roberta Lawson

She is writing up the business proposal: Excel and Word documents, razor-edged laminate folders, two hundred thousand cups of black coffee. The telephone shrills. Her parents – in flat tones – would like to buy her a house, a car, her parents would like to buy her. She bites so hard into her lip blood-drops form. Clutches the proposal tight as a baby.

* * *

He loves her.

But it isn’t working.

He loves her. The words are heavier and heavier on her.

He loves her. Is there somebody else?

He loves her. The only other person is herself. She’s beginning to think she overlooked that.

She’s so broke. Is there anything he can do to help her? He wants to help her. He has only ever wanted to help her.

She loves herself. She thinks perhaps she loves herself. If she gives love back to him, he’ll suck it into himself until she has nothing left, and he’ll be swollen.

When she speaks, he hears distortions. When he speaks, her head begins to hurt. He wants to help her. She doesn’t want to be helped. I want to love you, he says. She knows the shape of this love, and she is drowning.

She clutches the business proposal as if her life depends on it. You’re broke, he says. You need helping. Not from you, she says, not from you.


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Filed under Roberta Lawson

7 responses to “Steel By Roberta Lawson

  1. randalhoule

    some epiphany creeping in (is it possible for epiphany to creep?) He loves her, getting heavier, he’d be swollen. Great images.

  2. I get the feeling of that sense of panic when we think we’re okay but we’re not. Nicely done, Roberta.

  3. I like how she goes through a process of steeling herself. It is a hard road, faced by so many… and you condensed it so well.

  4. this has a strong poetic quality dusted inside all of the tension. i loved this: “she knows the shape of this love…”

  5. I loved the same line that Len noted above and overall, love the poetic voice and softly condensed touch.

  6. This is so powerful to me, the need to be independent even when sinking. Peace…

  7. Pingback: Week #40 – The money’s gone | 52|250 A Year of Flash

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