The Ordering Impulse

by Stefan Sullivan


I heard a thud. Then several more.

Glossy photo books were tumbling from the shelves.

The Endangered Polar Bear
The Wine Road of Piedmonte
Untouched Appalachia
Ghost Motels of Route 66

Our dinner guests used to leaf through these books
while we lobbed cheerful questions from the kitchen,
while we poured stuffed olives into wooden bowls.

These books had not been touched in a while.

And now, they were scattered on the floor.

My wife looked at me with the wildest eyes. Her hair was everywhere.

“The Appalachia book was sticking over the edge. That’s how it started.”  

“But why’d you throw all the books on the floor?”

A tear slid down her cheeks.  

“It didn’t bother you?”



Stefan Sullivan is the author of a novel set in 1990s Siberia (Die Andere Bibliothek/Berlin) and Marx for a Post-Communist Era: On Poverty, Corruption and Banality (Routledge/London). His poetry has appeared in The Secular Heretic, Barzakh (SUNY Albany), and on the radio with WNYU fm. He lives in Washington DC. Stella Bellow is an illustrator currently attending Parsons School of Design in New York City.

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