Cover Photo: Photograph by Wonderlane/Flickr
Photograph by Wonderlane/Flickr

Taking My First Step Toward a Stranger

If you’re lonely, you can spot another lonely person a mile off. The lonely can recognize kin.

If you’re sick, chronic or temporary, you recognize the sick as soon as you see them coming towards you: the pallor, the droop, the loss of spark. Likewise, if you’re lonely, you can spot another lonely person a mile off. The lonely can recognize kin, the way a person walks, how they tuck into themselves—shoulders drawn in, arms close to their sides, as if the torso needs to be held carefully, wrapped up tight. You see a person who is lonely like that and immediately think, just like me, that book is closed.

Grapes of Wrathwant

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Garbage man’sa comin’!

Let Us Now Praise Famous Men

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his man

, , The Poetic Determinacy of IndeterminacyShit or get off the pot.

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  I am no better and neither are you
We are the same whatever we do
You love me you hate me you know me and then
You can’t figure out the bag I’m in
I am everyday people!

How were we caught? How was it we were caught?I

If you take a step, that first step, toward someone—a stranger—who might, in turn, take a small step toward you, this may be what it takes to leave behind whatever made you feel separate, apart from others. All you need to do is take that first step, like a toddler takes her first step: wobbly, yes, unsteady, yes, but still she places one foot in front of her, steps, finds that the ground will support her. And then she takes another.

Toni Mirosevich is the author of six books of poetry and prose including Pink Harvest and The Takeaway Bin. Her nonfiction story, "The Year of Mercy: Too Far Gone on the California Coast" appeared in Catapult.com (6/5/18). She’s a professor of creative writing at San Francisco State University and lives with her wife in Pacifica, California, on the crumbling west coast.