Fiction · 06/17/2020

Before a Little Bit More

I talk to Haruki Murakami at the culvert by the bridge over Stickler’s Creek. Usually. It’s around the corner from where that 18-year-old got hit and killed, the one who dated her art teacher after graduation. I tell him how far I’ve run, and he says, Careful, always stop at the point where you think you could run a little more. That way, you have more energy for the next time.

People have seen things. I ask if he’s heard the girl. He says, Don’t listen to people, listen to the trees. I ask why I can talk to him sometimes, and not others. Not all things are meant to be known, he says. I’m going to go home and write, I say. He says, Stop when there is still more to be said.

I go home, sit on my couch, inhale the steam from my tea, stare at a blank screen, at a Sakai Hoitsu print, Cranes. The three white birds stand against a brown backdrop. I think of how little they know. How they know enough.

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Michelle Morouse’s work has appeared recently in Wigleaf, Peregrine, Lullwater Review, Passager, The MacGuffin, Pembroke Magazine, and Passages North. She is a Detroit area pediatrician and she serves on the board of Detroit Working Writers.