Gait by Sarah Ann Winn


Sarah Ann Winn

Another one arrived today, this one addressed to me with a fine tip purple marker, with star stickers lining the lip of the envelope. When I opened it, a bundle of lavender fell out, tied with a white ribbon. It was labeled with a tag, “Do not bend,” but nobody thought to tell the mailman, so I had to unfold the stems before propping the bouquet in an empty vase. I took further inventory. A small pile of fine white sand poured out into my hand. As I unfolded the letter, a yellow moth with pale grey spots flew away from the pages. At the bottom of the envelope, refusing to come out, a paper bag colored lizard the size of my palm glared at me and uncurled his stiff tail slowly along the line of the fold. Round letters, painstakingly fashioned, read

“Dear, I wish to register a complaint. Florida does not have as much snow as one might imagine, though really, aside from Courier and Ives and a few skiers, nobody could imagine as much snow as is possible in places like Vermont. Vermont is not Florida. The alligators here, emboldened by reality television, come out of the swamps. They menace the sliding glass door, in slow motion show the interior maw, which could swallow a person whole. They wait for me under the car, and my walker is the only thing keeping them from biting my legs off first. Thank heavens for the trick that nice Animal Park man who came to the retirement village last year taught me. One must hypnotize alligators. Tapping my walker on the sidewalk to the rhythm of a cha-cha has worked so far. I even dance sometimes. Only now, it’s two ginger wiggles, holding on for dear life, instead of steps. One, two, tap tap tap. You would be surprised how well your contra dances have served me here. You might find me writing like Hook from inside one day, ticking along as I tick along now, keeping time with the frogs and waves. I miss the clock on your dresser’s ticking. By the way, it seems to be losing time. You’ll want to have the mechanism checked. Do write and tell me about the weather, as I only know the particulars; where you keep your journals, how many times you stopped for coffee last week. Since you are stopping, please send me some gum when you write, strawberry or watermelon if you can. And you will write me, won’t you?”

About the Author

Sarah Ann Winn lives in Fairfax, Virginia. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in San Pedro River Review, Nassau Review, Portland Review, Lowestoft Chronicle, and Two Thirds North among others. Visit her at or follow her @blueaisling on Twitter.