Timothy Gager

Home | The Last Issue | Submissions | Achieve: 2004-2009 | Essays

Timothy Gager is the author of eight books of fiction and poetry. He was recently nominated for three Pushcart Awards. He lives on www.timothygager.com




I receive sounds and images but I can’t control the frequency or the content. This is how I knew she was with someone else---I saw two hands gripping her thin hips, heard her voice release in a waterfall of orgasm.

When she comes home, I have already begun and I stay invisible for days until she finally says, “You know things. You always do.” She moves out on the weekend but the sights and sounds of her never do.

Six months later her mother is in the hospital. She sits on a blue vinyl chair holding the silver railing of the bed where mom sleeps. She looks neither anxious nor sad, just tired. I see her as clearly as I do each time, at night, my eyes closed in bed.

The next day I call her, she says, “You know things.”
“I’m sorry Sylvie.” She makes a noise “hmmm” as if she just can’t explain anything.
“Are you still in love with me?” she asks.

And then I catch a glimpse of her eyes, sunken into purple rings and I know she’s been beaten.









The sidewalk outside my apartment is worn and flakey, perfect to extinguish the cigarettes of building’s smokers, but disrepair is not my problem. Neither is the cracked window of the street level apartment.  It is sealed by three strips of yellowed tape, better used to seal boxes sent by the US Post Office. The tape has been there longer than I but based on its color it’s hard to tell.


A few blocks down my car is still there. The tires are visibly marked on their sidewalls from parallel parking too close to the curbs. One of these times, everything will pop.


Pete is outside kicking at the dirt. We used to be friends. “Hey,” he says. “Hey,” and he digs his boots into the mulch.


            “I don’t know how to make it work,” he states. The lawn is weedy, with large brown areas of dead grass and rustled soil. “I tried to stay on top of it.” He kicks the dirt. “Look at it. What the fuck!” I don’t know how to respond so I look off at some far away trees.

            “Here. Let me show you something.” I walk to the closest patch of brown and pull up a clump, lifting it off like a cheap toupee. “Look, right there,” I push at the bleached C-shaped critters burrowing into the ground. “Lawn grubs. They eat the roots, turn the lawn to shit,” I say.  “Get some Lawn X, then water the whole lawn with at least 1 inch of water. Don't count on rainfall to do the job, sometimes rainfall is never hard enough to push the granules down to the roots where these grubs live.”


There are gunshots from the complex. The dope bag wiggles between my fingers in my pocket. Pete’s face is blue then pale, blue then pale.