CAT 272D coming in hot with a birch for the trim of a dental office. This thing moves like she’s on fire, gets up to a mile an hour, everyone checking out the skid steers. With her blade off, she’s a beauty—bumble-yellow, and me standing in the hatch, pushing the lever as far as she can go. Only problem being I’m distracted about Dawn, who’s waking up about now in her rambler just south of Hingham.

Kota’s out of his truck on Commonwealth and coming toward me, hard hat on sideways. He’s on a mission under the Citgo sign. Every morning is a concert of screeching and freighting.

“Morning!” he yells.

“You, too, buddy.”

“That the birch for up there?”


What me and Dawn got up to last night wasn’t the usual. Normally, it goes like this: She calls me, and I drive to Hingham at the slightest suggestion, watch something Meg Ryan, something Julia Roberts, Cameron Diaz, until I’m stroking the inside of Dawn’s hand, (letting go and grabbing thigh, then inner-thigh, then inner-inner-thigh), eventually get lost around three-thirty to beat traffic for work, and move site materials in the CAT 272D.

This time, when she called, it wasn’t for fun. She had things to say to me that I “probably didn’t want to hear,” about what it’s really like for her, that being a girl is morbid and wild, everything with me is great in the moment, then the waking up alone, that apparently, she cries, can’t sleep, that “all I want from her” is minutes and seconds.

“Did you hit last night?” Kota calls out. “The milf?”

“Nope! She gave me the hook.”

But with her gone, I’m like wait a minute, maybe I do love her, and can remember a time she looked beautiful—that one moment of sunlight—leaning on her air conditioner with the day closing over her. The buggy’s going strong toward the office, which has got all glass doors, and Kota’s getting pulled aside, reprimanded for cigs onsite. I look up at the sign blinking red to blue. I’d thought she was sleeping with someone else. There were always two plates from dinner in the sink, soaking, smeared with mushroom sauce and mash, and pork and cherries stuck in a pan on the stove. Romantic and too much effort for just Dawn alone. Or she’d made it for us, and I was late, so she’d eaten and put the rest in the trash. Kota says to boss man to go fuck himself and storms off, throwing his hat down on the asphalt with a crack.


About the Author

Carolynn Mireault is a recipient of the 2022 St. Botolph Club Foundation Emerging Artist Award in Literature and the 2022 Florence Engel Randall Fiction Award. She holds an MFA from Boston University, where she served as a Leslie Epstein Fellow and the Senior Teaching Fellow. She instructs Advanced Writing of Fiction at Boston University. Her work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Cutleaf, Louisiana Literature, Glassworks, Pithead Chapel, Abandon Journal, and FEED among other venues. Find her most recent publications at


Image by Mariakray from Pixabay