MARY LYNN REED
Every night she walks up and down her wide street, listening to the blue jays squawk, watching them dart from tree to tree. She remembers remembering the taste of her lover's skin. Combinatorics is the discipline of counting. She studied it once, with books and symbols, chalkboards and pencils. It’s nothing like one, two, three — a neighbor's sprinkler catches her off guard, dampens her ankles. Squirrel in a tree. Leaves scattered by the curb. Siren wails in the distance. A younger version of herself takes a train, wears a leather jacket, and carries a duffle bag up four flights of stairs. Identity is the relation of a thing to itself. Combinations and permutations. The past is an approximation — a tangent line to hope. The sun sets and the night air cools. Count the minutes. Days. Years. The world is not a song. Yet, the jays keep calling.
Mary Lynn Reed's fiction has appeared in Mississippi Review, Colorado Review, Smokelong Quarterly, and many other places. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Maryland. She lives in western New York with her wife, and together they co-edit the online literary journal MoonPark Review.