That Thing Between Us


There’s always been a thing between my husband and me.

The early thing was an energy field, a crazy electromagnetic charge. I don’t remember
thinking much during that time. But I did emit an intense glow.

The energy field begot a crucible, where elements, and in this case, people, were melted
down to something new. I was regaining my ability to think, sometimes even to pray, as this
crucible inspired. His divorce, my melanoma, etc.

The next thing between us, for a quick minute was a chessboard. We competed,
and quarreled about who was better. We didn’t even have a chessboard.

In succession, the next three things between us were of the same genus. They stretch, or
were meant to. The first stretchy thing was a tether, something like a leash, to provide the illusion of safety while facing the terror of loss.

And the tether produced the slingshot, since neither of us liked being bound up. A few
well-placed shots and we opted for fear, hoped for fidelity.

And the slingshot birthed the rubber band; we slipped an end behind each sacrum, so we
could lean back into the presence of the other at a distance.

That made us comfy for awhile. Then the band broke. We were flat on our backs with no
thing between us. Nothing. The words between us didn’t work anymore. The silence that
used to be full, was parched.

Then, the July before last
my husband almost died

now the thing between us

is a belly flower
so underfoot, precious, and tiny
we have to get down to the ground

and once we’re on our knees
the thing beneath us is the earth
where soon we both will be scattered


About the Author

Susan Flynn has been published in Voices de la Luna; Late Peaches, An Anthology of Sacramento Poets; No Achilles, An Anthology of War Poetry; Tule Review; East Jasmine Review; Oberon Poetry Magazine; WomenArts Quarterly; Adirondack Review; SLAB; and Cosumnes River Journal. Her poem “Ode to My Mistakes” has been nominated for the 2018 Sundress Best of the Net award. Her first poetry collection Seeing Begins in the Dark will be published by River Rock Books in 2021.

Susan has her BA in American Literature and her PhD in Clinical Psychology, and currently works as a private practice clinical psychologist, a university professor, and a training and supervising psychoanalyst. She lives in Sacramento and enjoys fly fishing, writing, photography, and playing the piano.