A Wasp in Orange Juice - selections 

by Natalie Lerner 

You wanted to die at home and I get it. Our house was perfect.

I wake up in our house and walk into the kitchen where mom is waiting, taking my hand she leads me to the sink.

He’s not actually dead, but he can’t be with us anymore. He’s across the street. Sometimes… if I stand here long enough I see him.

So, I step closer to the sink, look out the window and wait for you.

Sometimes I see the sliding glass door open from just over the fence. Several salt and pepper coils float just above each pointed post.

Then the door closes and you’re gone.

Other times I wait well into nightfall. I know that backyard, it is covered in pine needles just like at your best friend Allyn’s house.

I listen to the sounds of them crunching beneath your Cowboy boots.


Your sisters are crowded together at the podium sharing stories about you, talking all at once and over each other. Their voices form a beautiful Grecian chorus, fresh from Wisconsin, pouring over with love and grief.


We both dreamed of you after the first night, you showed up with the dog you always wanted.


The hardest thing was when I couldn't smell you on your clothes anymore.


I have a letter from you that I don’t show to anyone and in it

you tell me you are with me

– in a passing bird

– a saucer I place a cup on

–  the ocean,

in all things – you’re there.

I always feel you now, but not in things.

Natalie Lerner is an artist living and working in NYC. ig: @natalie_lerner / tw: @natsbaked / natalielerner.com