Front Porch

Once I—with someone else (because you need someone else for such a thing)—once I transformed my front porch into a boat. This worked because a porch is made of wood, and a boat can be made of wood. And together we sat on my porch, each of us in our chairs, and it was like being let loose out on the ocean, sort of like an open ocean ferry I took once, and there were moths on the shingles, great gray things that sometimes got in my eyes or hit me on the forehead, and fading sunlight, and wind chimes drowning out my neighbor’s smoke detector (she let it chirp for weeks before changing the battery), and my books blown about on the evenings that stormed, the pages flapping at our feet.

Susan Harlan’s work has appeared in venues including The Paris Review Daily, Guernica, The Guardian US, Roads & Kingdoms, The Common, Curbed, and Public Books, and her book Luggage was published last March. Her humor book Decorating a Room of One’s Own was published by Abrams last October. She teaches English literature at Wake Forest University.

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