Katy Huff

this life is in beta

Category: introspection

Hell’s Half Acre?

The raw, spent muscles of my shoulders cook in the steady heat radiating inward from my sun-baked skin. Meanwhile, with the halting diction characteristic of early cognitive development, a little boy begs me to do chores all night with him in this house full of macaroni and cheese, high fructose corn and maple syrup encrusted dishware. The snot drools like lava from his sister’s nose as she silently stacks and restacks the tiny medicine cups that she knows so well.

For 13,000 years, ending just about when the Mormons think Jesus came wandering around North America, lava was gushing up from the earth in Idaho, between the Rockies and the Tetons.


Someone Send A Runner

Today in the Idaho desert, the dark sky slides fast down the mountains. Ominous, it is inky as the raw grey crude bleeding upward from the ocean sands in the Gulf. It spills like some advancing army into the sunlight across this flat expanse. An icy rain at the edge of the shadow consumes the soft morning light that had promised an afternoon warmth ahead. When it reaches my toes, its darkness sinks into the meat of my chest.

I am cold in this kitchen, and it occurs to me that it’s been nearly a decade since I felt suited to this kind of desert solitude. Of course, the monsoons were sweeter and warmer off the Jemez than these bitter storms off of the Rockies. That desert came to me through wilder eyes than I look through now, and the imperfections of isolation at least offered a compelling novelty in my youth. No doubt, too, the responsibility for my mood was more obviously my own then, and I dared not neglect it as I do now.


My ill stomach burbles with a sad soft sickness while on the phone you relay to me the story of your food poisoning. I quietly contemplate a flipbook of postcards that I will send to you daily without return addresses. I compile secret messages that I will mail letter by letter. Each glyph sliced from its magazine will travel lonely hundreds of miles in an envelope addressed, in the scrawl of my left hand, to your apartment. The 365 characters of the year will tell the story of your distance from me, no longer merely physical. Or perhaps, deftly crafted but foolishly deciphered, they will excite you to fantasies of secret admirers, spurring your courage to pursue trysts with the unwed women of Chicago.
I would send elephants in flat rate boxes. 
I would train carrier pigeons to fly to your office.
I would hire public radio personalities to leave you voicemail.
Anything for you.


An Education

Hundreds of miles away, you went on a date with me to a movie by yourself. When I took my seat alone in an ornate, red veloured darkness you’ve never set your grey eyes upon, our romantic weeknight commenced.

In the pre-show emptiness of the Orpheum, I filled my empty stomach with a whole wheat pita crammed with carrots and cucumber and tomatoes. Soon, I would find myself helping a stranger search in vain for his wallet between the soft crimson cushions.

Our wallet brigade forfeitted, the lights dimmed, and as the preview reel began to spin in Chicago, I slipped back into my seat in Madison to have a movie date with an incredibly handsome man… nowhere to be seen…

Morning Ride

It is empirically clear that no amount of frozen haired, wild armed, heavy volumed, Paul Simon morning bike drumming will leave me with the transcendent feeling of strong legged, proud cheeked confidence with which I used to awaken under the green leafy sunlight of Chicago.

When my leg swings over the top bar and my keys clamour at the lock under this building’s towering dimness, my smile is fragile, my thighs uncertain, and my mittened fingers hesitant in the icy winter wind.

The big open heart in my chest would prefer to blame this phenomenon on the lack of windows in my office, on the fluorescent hum incessantly inoculating the sterile air on my skin. But, I can’t shake the dream that you’ll appear at my bedroom door without warning. I involuntarily elaborate a fiction in which you have the desire to neglect your myriad responsibilities and grasp the moment to seek out my skin instead… and I wake up fragile, certain of nothing except that you would never do such a thing.

Frozen with apprehension, the first public steps of a long awaited return thaw with a geological slowness. A hesitant toe-nudge wiggles imperceptibly into the infinitely public void.

Drinking dark earl grey from a purple teapot, I am reminded of oatmeal.

The man closest to me here in this cafe could perhaps be mistaken for your cousin, your brother even, but he could never double as you. I can’t imagine he knows the proper way to eat applesauce…