Ohio

Before she moved to Ohio with him, he told her not to come. I can’t promise I’ll marry you afterward, he said. I can’t promise I’ll marry you ever. She went anyway, years of Brooklyn crammed into damp cardboard boxes from the corner grocer. By the time she unpacked in Columbus, all of her sweaters smelled like cilantro. She hung them around the apartment like wooly ghosts hoping to avoid the dry cleaning bill. Sometimes, on afternoons when he was out teaching, or rehearsing, or making friends with other women, she’d catch a glimpse—a red knit sleeve, a chunky cowl neck reflected in a mirror, a cashmere hoodie waving by an open window—and think, for a moment, that she wasn’t alone. She left them hanging there for months.

Lauren Hall’s work has appeared in NANO Fiction, The Conium Review, APIARY, and Fiction Writers Review. She received the 2012 William Carlos Williams Prize for Poetry at the University of Pennsylvania and was a finalist for the 2011 NANO Prize.

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