Nalini Abhiraman

Most of our possessions come from the thrift store up the block. We shop there to indulge our deep hatreds — of waste and sales tax. We walk there to save gas. The store smells better than its brethren often do; of fresh tobacco and Love's Baby Soft. Its racks of clothes and bedclothes are tidily curated by color, although one-half of the middle-aged couple who run it is colorblind, meaning that we occasionally find outliers — sage-colored pants blooming among a row of khakis, or a bright blue dress ruining the otherwise neat progression from indigo to violet. He always purchases these pieces if they fit, finding meaning in their not being of their surroundings. I think this is dumb. Always have. Still find any number of ways to tell him so, the lacerations echoing across the length of the dinner table. He says nothing, fingers a cuff or a hem after I'm done talking. Paces me as we eat our oatmeal. We lift our spoons, drop them in unison.

We lift our spoons, drop them in unison. Always have. Smell our possessions, which come from an otherwise neat progression that is better than its brethren. Blooming echoes lacerating the dinner table. We walk there, up the block from the thrift shop sales, which is dumb. He says nothing, tidily curates the racks if they fit his length, finding meaning in their number of ways to tell him so. Occasionally he fingers me after I'm done talking, smelling of fresh tobacco until I come, always. Clothes and bedclothes — pants (khakis), a bright blue dress — purchased, indulged with Love's Baby Soft, ruined, although hemmed. A cuff between couples becomes colorblind, going through its paces, from indigo to violet to sage to oatmeal. What does it mean to still find deep hatreds, store them across the length of middle age? Or any length? Waste taxes one-half and runs the other into gas, most often not colored, as we eat. These pieces surround our being, our meaning. I think we are outliers among the saved. Who is to find us there?

Nalini Abhiraman lives in Providence, RI. She was born in 1983 in the Atlanta suburbs, and spent her childhood scratching at insect bites in exotic locations. Nalini has worked as an editor, writer, and teacher in Seoul, South Korea, and New York City. She is currently pursuing an MFA in electronic writing at Brown University.