The Lonely Genius

by Darryl Price

was washing her hands and looking
in the mirror and hoping to
see someone who could tell her
the way home again. She wasn't

sure why she should want to 
go there except maybe to find
the missing piece that had always
eluded her. The lonely genius put

on her clothes but the old
familiarity wasn't as comfortable as it
had once seemed to be. Pants 
and shirt seemed to be at

odds with her somehow. The lonely
genius panicked when she couldn't find
her glasses but then remembered they
were pushed on top of her 

head, a habit she had picked
up from her older sister when 
they were both in college. At
least my shoes never let me 

down, she thought. I'm too smart
to be sad, she thought. Work 
and thinking are the not foolish
things, she countered. So why is

there something broken and dangling inside
me now? What did I do 
to deserve this? The lonely genius
noticed an old floppy hat sitting

slumped over some sweaters in the
top corner of the closet before
she had time to close the 
door. It looked sadder than she 

felt. Why am I being so
silly, she thought. What is wrong 
with me? I must be getting  
a cold, but I never get 

sick. She brushed the brim off
with a wave of her hand.
Back in the bathroom with her
glasses hanging onto her nose like

an exotic butterfly she pushed the
hat down on her head. She
smiled. She turned sideways. She glanced
up shyly at herself and gave 

a small crooked grin. This is 
stupid, she thought. Is this what 
people do, she thought. Why am 
I crying? She grabbed her keys

off of the dresser and stumbled
down the steps. Stupid plants, she 
said to no one. Stupid kitchen 
sink. Stupid rugs. Stupid books.Stupid

coffee maker. Leave me alone, she 
shouted. I just want to feel 
something else besides your company. Is
that so wrong? No appliance dared

speak up. The lonely genius punched
a symbol for a number into 
her phone, her brain beginning to
pick up speed with every second 

wasted. It's me. I'm not coming 
in today. Because I don't feel 
like it, she thought. I'm not 
feeling well, she said. Yes, tomorrow. dp

Bonus poem:

Tenderness by Darryl Price

I wouldn't fall apart if I could just 
remain a child and not be a stranger, 
but I have a permanent rip in my 
lost soul that none of you have ever touched 
with any special tenderness. Wouldn't 
fall apart to take your hand once again 
and pour out my head like an hourglass of 
its useless colorless sand. You could kick 
all the grains into oblivion. You 
could put your hands on your hips and laugh at 

the silly glass face, stretching your uncomprehending 
grin to the bluest of skies 
beyond.But it would not kill my love for 
you. I've always seen the beautiful in 
you.I wouldn't fall apart if I saw 
you shouting with glee and eating an ice 
cream with identical ribbons streaming 
from your pretty belt into the summer 
winds like some kind of new creative flags. 
I'd silently salute you and I do. 

Thank you for your service to being you. 
That's a place like home to me. One I have 
forever been banished from, but I will 
defend it with every breath taken or
left in me.I wouldn't fall apart to 
hear you sing. It's one of my fondest young 
memories. Peter Pan and I may have 
parted company as old pirates with 
no more adventures to be had in this 
sad lifetime, but our last handshake was pure
and genuine. I wouldn't fall apart  
to slip you this poem. This ticket has
already been punched. It's no invite. The
bell has been released from its masking tape
tower.It really doesn't matter. I 
wouldn't fall apart. You never listen. 
I wasn't prepared. I was curious. 
I wouldn't fall apart because I had
no choice once the room disappeared under
my feet. My sorrow is only a note. dp