“Chesapeake,” “Small Evening, Abroad” & “Normandy” by Tyler Barstow

Abstract painting by Sally Egbert


I have started to think about my mother as a young woman. As someone who is 32 and
uncertain. It is no small thing to move to a different state and begin to begin again, the way she
and my father did. To practice another resurrection in tepid Virginia heat. The coastline
stretching its long beige body in the sun like a summer cat. The citronella creaking in the air like
an attic. My father holding hands with another woman on a business trip.

And I have been thinking that I do not want it to be redeemed. I do not want it to change.
My mother and I walking through the plain white aisles of the Walmart by the feeding pond, and
picking up boxes with names on them, and believing that they will help.

Small Evening, Abroad

take the gospel for example, but take the drowned version:

it's amsterdam and 8 o'clock and raining like someone's looking for something she says as she
pinches her cigarette empty and asks the waitress for the check. it's twenty minutes walking to
Tuschinski and the sound of dishes mixes with the river roofs while she does not rush
to finish her wine and the water does not get in.


I have been writing now for almost seven years to try and tell you what the word normandy
means and I cannot find it. I cannot say what it was to smoke cigarettes on the hillside and carry
bread with us to the shore. I cannot find the words that mean Honfleur when the sun was setting
and the harbor became a painting of a woman looking out her window, elbow perched on the sill
like a finch, after filling the kitchen vase with lavender and bringing in the linen. I cannot find it in me
to play the piano again.

I can tell you, though, what it is to live with ghosts. I can tell you what it is to have a heart that
walks, slow as a milk cart, up the same hill and through the same woods each morning. I can
show you the path I’ve worn saying I do not love you, and the places it does not lead.


Tyler Barstow is a writer currently living in Los Angeles. He loves mall food courts, the movie Gladiator, and crewneck sweatshirts. He co-founded Vinyl Me Please, has spent a month of his life listening to The National, and hopes to be Pendleton Ward when he grows up. You can find him on Twitter @tylerbarstow.

Sally Egbert is a New York based artist. For over three decades, she has been making paintings, drawings, and installations. Her work is mostly abstract, loosely based on observations from nature. Egbert studied at SUNY, New Paltz. She is a recipient of grants from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, The Gottlieb Foundation, and The New York State Foundation for the Arts. She has shown nationally and internationally.