18. Miranda and Clarke as Penpals


I don’t know what to tell you. There are splinters in our hands. What did you do this time? Also, we’ve got another psychiatry appointment the day after tomorrow (4/27), so I’m going to need full control on that day.


Hate it here. When are we leaving? – C


We’ll be here until our situation improves. We’re going to be put on a new Rx pending Dr analysis (tomorrow!!! don’t forget!!!), which should mitigate the mood swings. I doubt it’ll be too bad for you, but I’m letting you know anyway.


No more pills. Get us out. – C

Where to Begin

← Chapter 17 |  Chapter 19 →

17. Clarke as a Performer

“Wanna see what I can do?”

“No,” Lye replies without looking up. They’re far from the watching eyes of the hospital, so Miranda has let Clarke out for some exercise. Lye just wants to read and work on his tan.  


Lye closes his book around his finger and looks up. “Do you know how similar you two are?”

Clarke sends his fist into the trunk of the thickest oak in the grove. The sound of splintering wood rips the air. He pulls his hand back and watches Lye expectantly. The tree topples.

“Oh my.”

Clarke grins. “I’m strong.”


Where to Begin

← Chapter 16 |  Chapter 18 →

16. Lye as a Tour Guide

They stroll arm-in-arm along the wall. Lye points out the plants they pass. Once, long ago, he was going to be a botanist. He still knows their names.

“How old is this place?” She trails the tips of her fingers over old bricks.

Lye eyes Miranda sternly. She talks about home with a faraway look, misses shoelaces more than kids her age, and hates being interrupted, but has no problem interrupting him with questions that have nothing to do with the conversation.

“1855, I’ve been told. Before that, it was the estate of a businessman from Boston.”

“What happened?”

“Who knows.”

Where to Begin

← Chapter 15 |  Chapter 17 →

The Fire Poems, Part 2

2. The Singularity of Some Things

I’ve stopped reading subtle differences, like which
side of the punch I’m really on,
you know?
knuckles bruise lips, teeth break knuckles
and they’re so closely pressed together that I can’t tell where you
end and I begin and you said,
     “we’re bordering on biblical here and—”
what was the rest? Oh,
     “Less love, more leather jackets
     more eyes like blackout curtains
     more rough bodies in cement stairwells
     more scrapes up our spines like war wounds and leaking flags.
     Pass on the apologies, say no to the tears,
     Write poems across your fists and shove them down people’s throats.
     If we all go around genuflecting all the time,” you said,
     “We’ll run into something eventually.”
And damn, if I could have turned everything you ever said into a poem,
I’d never have run out of things to eat
and I’d still know what to call you.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

15. Dinner for Two

“He’s an idiot,” Miranda says emphatically as she forks roast beef into her mouth. She eats more than anyone else he’s ever met. “Dissociative Identity Disorder. Ha! He’ll be calling me Sybil next. Wait’ll Clarke meets him.”

“I take it that the session didn’t go well?”  

Miranda gives him a long-suffering look. Lye focuses on his bread so she won’t notice his smile.

When she begins to pick up her tray to go, Lye puts a hand on her shoulder. “You’ve still got to eat your beans, Miranda.”

She gives him that look again but picks up her fork, anyway.

Where to Begin

← Chapter 14 |  Chapter 16 →

14. Miranda vs Therapy, Part III

“Do you know what Dissociative Identity Disorder is?” Asks Dr. Smith after about half an hour of pointless questions and incessant notepad-scribbling.

Miranda gives him a cold stare.

Dr. Smith takes this to mean that she doesn’t know what it is, and so he launches into a long-winded explanation.

When he’s done, “No, you’re not listening,” she says, “Clarke isn’t a different personality. He’s a completely different person.”

Dr. Smith nods understandingly and smiles reassuringly. “Yes, of course,” he croons, “I understand completely. He’s the Mr. Jekyll to your Dr. Hyde, right?”

Miranda decides that she doesn’t like Dr. Smith.

Where to Begin

← Chapter 13 |  Chapter 15 →