A line outside the liberty bell,

bars you can still smoke in,

cyclists covered in tattoos; my five-foot-one sister playing

dress-up in her brand-new, oversized Albert Einstein Hospital coat.

Everyone gone, to the shore.

(Fourth of July weekend.)

Gray, cobblestone streets nearly empty, melting before dusk.

It’s my last day here. A crowd gathering for the presidential motorcade

Jolts me out of sleep.

Kids laughing on the sidewalk below, the day disappearing.

Love’s at the door, with lightly freckled cheeks and a guitar case on the floor.

Muscular arms bursting out of a gray v-neck, a smile like the best meal of your life.

No place I’d rather be than in a room where he is singing.

Orange lights pouring in from the street, a breeze, a voice–what a voice.

Promises I’ve made –No More Musicians! – want to fall into the sky.

Quitting would mean I learn from my mistakes.

Reason never wins; look at the divorce rates. But,

Spring has come and gone and

Timing is everything. Maybe I should have owned a clock all these years.

Usually, I can read them like paperbacks, but those eyes—museums should keep them

Vaulted in a glass case.

Where they can be studied,


Years will go by and I’ll still remember them, under the awning, rain falling around us.

Zippers staying zipped, a long embrace that felt like home—a home I can’t afford yet.


Zhanna Vaynberg


ZHANNA VAYNBERG was born in Chernovtsy, Ukraine and moved to the Midwest in 1991. She graduated from UW-Milwaukee with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing in 2008, and will be receiving a master’s degree in Writing and Publishing from DePaul University in March 2012. She recently won an Honorable Mention in Glimmer Train’s August 2011 Short Story Award for New Writers for a piece of flash fiction entitled “Things You Should Never Tell Your Mother,” and her first published story, “Do Not Leave Chicago,” will be coming out in Euphony Journal’s winter issue in January 2012.

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