SmokeLong Quarterly

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Two Towels Drying

Story by Natalie Warther (Read author interview) July 15, 2021

Photograph by Ksenia Novak

I find your other wife’s earrings in the pocket of my coat: large, gold.

When I leave, she comes. When she leaves, I come.

Last week she organized my lipstick shades from pink to red–– a kissing rainbow.

I find her shampoo in the shower only you use.

She makes enchiladas and leaves one in the fridge for you. Or maybe for me.

I ask to know who she is, but you say, That’s not the arrangement.

Your other wife must wear your shirts to bed. I watch you from the doorway, unrolling the cuffs.

She’s leaving clues for me: a pile of mango pits on a towel in the garage, a tuft of brown hair in my underwear drawer, the word “almost” underlined over and over again in the newspaper. Almost. Almost. Almost.

I put her earrings on: heavy, like a human heart.


This micro was a finalist in the 2021 SmokeLong Grand Micro Contest. 

About the Author

Natalie Warther is a senior writer at Chiat Day with an MFA from Bennington College. Her most recent fiction is forthcoming in Wigleaf. Her story “Bye Bye Baby” was a 2024 Pushcart Prize Nominee and she is a current finalist in the 2024 American Short(er) Fiction Award. She lives in Los Angeles.

About the Artist

Find more photography by Ksenia Novak at Unsplash.

This story appeared in Issue Seventy-Two of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly Issue Seventy-Two

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