My Route
Ann Hillesland

Out of Service

After we broke up, I moved down near the bus yard. Every night the buses rattled by, empty, their route signs saying Sorry Sorry Sorry.


The blur of your lipstick on the bar glass. Your hair’s firelit glint. The next morning, in your bed, on the sun-graven sheets, my eyes closed, my eyelids burning red, dazzled.


Passing a piano, you plunked out “Chopsticks.” Dissonance, harmony, melody, repeat.

Push Me

Push me, you said in the park, on the swings. I put my hands to your back, warm in the cool spring air, and pushed you high, higher.

“Push me,” you whispered in my ear that night in bed. So I did.


During the Niner’s game, you threw the remote, hitting me in above the left eyebrow. The corner knocked a bruise that grew during the night.

Football injury, I told people.

Exit Signs

Are also red.

Downward Dog

It wasn’t the yoga instructor’s lithe body, her summery hair, her willow-leaf hands. Breathe deeply. Deeper, she said. The calm came in a soft glide from here to me. Wings brushed my cheeks, but when I opened my eyes, nothing was there. Just her. Serenity.


A nothing word, a soft puff and a sliding s sound trailing away. A monotonous blue sky.

My Stop

When you pushed me into the door, it was a good hurt, because I knew I deserved it, needed it. The doorknob digging into my hip, imprinting the lock on my skin. Deeper.

I can find the key. Get back in. No one hates so much without loving. Sorry. It’s printed on my forehead, flashing from my eyes, a sign I know you can read as I ride back to you.

Ann Hillesland’s work has been published or is forthcoming in Fourth Genre, Monkeybicycle, Sou’wester, r.kv.ry, Prick of the Spindle, Anderbo, Open City, and SmokeLong Quarterly. Her work was selected for the Wigleaf Top 50 Very Short Fictions 2012 and was presented onstage by Stories On Stage.