On Planning
by Kelly Scarff

On Tuesday, my father walks into the house with three bags
of incandescent light bulbs, bought on sale at the hardware store.
The LED future is coming, and he wants to be ready. What must
remain in his days: the same fuzzy hues, the same grey shadows.
He tucks each bulb into the closet, careful not to press too hard
on their thin shells, their plump bodies. Most nights, he lies in bed
and gathers his losses: one set of parents, two brothers, one
silver wristwatch.

by Kelly Scarff

When we awake that afternoon, I suggest sushi, but you won’t eat
raw things anymore, so we go for burgers.  We park on a street
with no meters, and, as we walk, the hems of your jeans fall and
skid along the sidewalk.  Sometimes, I want to talk about what we
lose; how good it feels to share an emptiness; how the deepest
connection two people can have is the same shape of loss, the same
etch on our breastplate, the same burn along our gauntlets.  It’s
raining outside, and by the time we reach the restaurant, your jeans
have frayed on the bottom, and the rainwater has crept up the
back of the denim.  You order your meat well done, and when it’s
delivered to our table, you cut into it to make sure there is no pink


Kelly Scarff is an editor and graphic designer from Greensburg,
Pennsylvania.  Her poems have appeared in
Pear Noir!, Nerve
, 5AM, and elsewhere.  Her chapbook I Fall in Love
with Strangers
is available from Liquid Paper Press.

On “On Timing” and “On Planning”:
      I wrote “On Timing” after having several conversations
with a friend about mourning.  We had both recently
experienced losses, hard ones, and as we talked about our
losses, I found that our mourning processes were very similar.  
However, we couldn’t talk about it often, only in small pockets
when the timing was just right, and when both of us were ready
for the conversation.
      “On Planning” was written around the same time with
the same inspiration: loss.  I visited my parents on a random
weekday and watched their weekly routine, which I hardly
see anymore.  My father brought home bags and bags of
incandescent light bulbs, because someone at work told him
that the bulbs were going out of production.  As he held the
bags, he told me how the world eventually gets rid of
everything worth having.  It was very hard to watch him
struggle to hold on to what he knew was ending.   

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Apple Valley Review:
A Journal of Contemporary

ISSN 1931-3888

Volume 9, Number 1
(Spring 2014)

Copyright © 2014
by Leah Browning, Editor.  

All future rights to material
published in the
Valley Review
are retained
by the individual authors
and artists.

On Timing