I spent my early years swallowing single-cup creamers in the meringue pie and black coffee diner. This is where the real cowboys hung out, the ones with frayed Levis who sold Dad our cows: skirt steak, rib roast, and rounds stacked high in the garage freezer.
The restaurant’s got mustard yellow lights, antique and ready for a game of five card stud. Across the double-lane highway, the hay bales are rolled like downy goose featherbeds, the same as in Switzerland. I hear cows die
a softer death over there. Not the baby ones, though. Veal is made the same: inverted, fresh-caught, fish-eyed.
Letter to Bridget from Lindbergh Lake
I miss the city already. I said that I missed the mountains, but I lied. In June, their snow-capped peaks look moldy. This lake is not meant for wading. One summer, when I was young, I didn’t go swimming because I watched my dog’s raw beef bone fall into the water. The pink, fibrous marrow unhitched from its bone and the strands leaked like worms, and I thought that the lake was tainted forever. I heard a girl died here once. There was no buoy above the big rock, warning away speeding boat engines. Or perhaps there was and it was dark, but the boat hit, and she was suspended like a peregrine before the dive. There was blood like rainbow oil on the water. Body—purple and minced by steel blades, floating downward, ever so slowly, joining bones that are, by this time, hollow. Sorry if that’s morbid. Know that I’ve gone swimming plenty. Know that I’ll return toting huckleberry jam, and you’ll be homesick, too.
Katrin Tschirgi is an MFA candidate at Bowling Green State University. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in alice blue review, Post Road, and the Tin House Open Bar. Originally from Boise, Idaho, she was a recipient of the Dever Fellowship at Boston College.