Chelsea Ardle

Chelsea Ardle is a writer, Pennsylvania-native, Ohio-transplant, and explorer, by all accounts. She received her MFA degree from Chatham University and is the assistant editor of Vagabond City Literary Journal. Her work has been published in matchbook literary magazine. She enjoys vistas that make her feel small, exploring places in a state of recovery, and perfecting the science of pancakes. You can find her on instagram @chardle  and she tweets @thechardle.




A Timeline of Two Cities

Columbus, Ohio

St. Paul, Minnesota

We meet at the sushi place

He came straight from work

They are in a car, driving

A man, his girlfriend, and their daughter

Still dressed in shiny black

Shoes and his nice gray slacks.

The girl is young, maybe 7 or 8 years old.

One of the brake lights is out, flat red.

We order sushi with tuna and smoked salmon

Covered in fish roe, bright orange-red drops,

Blinking lights and sirens behind the family

They pull over to the side of the highway

It is my second day at a new job

I tell him it went well, they let me write

“Sir, do you know that your tail light is out”

“Can I see your license and registration?”

I tell him I will buy us ice cream

He orders churro, I get wildberry

The man tells the officer

He is licensed to carry

He hands me his unfinished cone

Brimming with soupy cream

The man thinks this is a courtesy

Reaches into his pocket for the license, unknowing

“I don’t want this, I’m full.”

“It’s yours.” “No it’s not”

The officer is threatened

By the admission and he knows his job

I playfully dump the cream onto the pavement

Splashing, splatter, unknowing

Is to protect [himself]

But is the danger present?

Ice cream sputters through the air

The trigger, taut, now further

Onto his shiny black shoes, new still

Shots fired, maybe 2, no, 4

His face is red in anger

His face grows gray, pale, slack

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