The light is leaving the sky. The stars are burning in their tracks and the moon is a sliver rising up and up and up. We sit together on the patio smoking cigarettes, drinking bourbon and water from short glasses. She reaches out to touch my hand. An owl calls somewhere in the neighborhood. The streets grow empty and silent. Streetlamps make yellow light and the shadows are sharp and dark. She says she loves me and I nod, not knowing what to say. Of course I love her, but the words stick in my throat like a shard of glass. My tongue is thick as the sole of a shoe and my lips are numb. I nod and she waits. She asks if I’ll ever say the words. Someday, I say.
William L. Alton was born November 5, 1969 and started writing in the Eighties while incarcerated in a psychiatric prison. Since then his work has appeared in Main Channel Voices, World Audience and Breadcrumb Scabs among others. In 2010, he was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He has published one book titled Heroes of Silence. He earned his both BA and MFA in Creative Writing from Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon, where he continues to live.