Chapter 16
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“We Love Those Among Whom We Have Spent the Day”

Book Excerpt: Secret City

We Love Those Among Whom We Have Spent the Day

At the Starbucks at twilight, a stranger,
young enough to be my son, leans over the counter
clicking on buttons, his cropped head inches
from my mouth while he enters Windows,
taps another button, pulls up the internet,
then praises the photo of my cat on the home page.

We love those among whom we have spent the day.
The almost Victorian light of November dusk
shines on living hands. The boy at the Starbucks
picks up his cardboard cup, gives me a thumbs up,
walks into the light-drenched parking lot and disappears.

I take my computer back to my table. I remember
the last time I saw you was summer. I brought
key lime milkshakes. We ate them with plastic spoons.
The porch was so terribly hot
I asked to go back inside though you loved
sitting in the sun. You laughed, Whatever you want,
darling. As if it were the most ordinary thing
we rose from the lawn chairs and went in.

“We Love Those Among Whom We Have Spent the Day”

Copyright © 2022 by Katherine Smith. Excerpted from Secret City (Madville Publishing). Used with permission. All rights reserved. Katherine Smith is a Tennessee native whose previous collections include Argument by Design (2003) and Woman Alone on the Mountain (2013). Her work has appeared in BoulevardNorth American ReviewCincinnati ReviewMissouri ReviewPloughsharesThe Southern Review, and many other journals.

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