The Art of Tetman Callis

Some of the stories and poems may be inappropriate for persons under 16

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Wednesday

He was doing the dishes when he heard the angels calling.

Come home, Come home. Come home Wednesday, we’ve been waiting for you.

They were a fluttering hovering above and in back of him, over his shoulders and to the sides. Intimate, their almost-sound the flight of a moth on a summer night.

He didn’t look around to try to see them. He wasn’t stupid or mad. He had to finish the dishes.

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The angels said Wednesday. He was to come walk with them in a beautiful place.

The angels didn’t just show up out of thin air. All he had to do was sing, and soon they came.

Calling all angels . . .

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The first time he sang for the angels, only one came. He didn’t have to wait very long. The second time, a whole flock came. He didn’t see them or hear them the way he saw the dishes in the sink or heard the voices coming from the radio, but he could feel them, like a lover standing near. His skin tingled.

When the flock was gathered, he could feel them in his throat.

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He did the dishes and looked out the window over the kitchen sink at the back yard, still yellow and dead with winter. He looked at the traffic going by on the road behind his house, and at the clouds in the cold morning sky—some white, some gray, some touched with pale gold. He looked at the the kitchen windowsill and the things on it: the red, white and blue box of kitchen matches with the scuffed black striker on the side; the canister of baking powder with the girl on the label; the box of baking soda with the man’s arm holding up a sledgehammer like he was about to hit the baking-powder girl on the head, which would probably have killed her; and the almost-empty bottle of vinegar, and two plastic toothpicks in a dusty shot glass.

The sunlight sparkled off the soapsuds, the dull silver of the stainless flatware, the hard shine of the glazed crockery.

These things were all intensely beautiful, and not for the first time.

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The angels called before he got to the pots and pans. He dried his hands on the towel that hung from the refrigerator door. Something touched his shoulder, then his mouth.

(Originally published in The Columbia Review, Vol. 99, Issue 1, Fall 2017. Copyright 2017 by Tetman Callis.)