Margot Eyring and Irene Plax

Margot Eyring
Dust Cloud


The Hum
By Irene Plax

Inspiration Piece

The drill howls and grinds on the street. It wakes Marley. She rolls over, but her husband has slept next to her and seeing him exacerbates the annoying noise. It is a recession; there is no money to buy fancy nail polish or organic vegetables, let alone divorce lawyers or second apartments, and they are stuck together.

The only thing in the refrigerator is a carton of eggs. Marley is at the kitchen stove, alone, because even if her husband is awake they avoid being in the same room at the same time. She cracks an egg directly into the hot pan and only the yolk drops out. The egg white stays cooped up inside the shell. On the next egg, the same thing happens, and the slippery yolk glistens at her like an eye. She ignores the oddity and scrambles, then sits down to eat a protein-rich breakfast.

From her perch looking out the window, she sees couples on the sidewalk.  They progress across her vista joined yet apart like petulant siblings. She knows they’re sick of each other, but would be inconvenienced by separating, and she is struck that she is just like everyone else. She isn’t special. Everybody is evenly submerged in boring problems, leveled like spackle on a wall into a comfortable sort of misery. The men in hard hats split concrete and the drills sound like monsters. She watches the street crack into segments. Dust clouds rise from the transformation. She lifts her fork to her mouth and tastes DNA.