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Chris Coplan (@CCoplan on Twitter, if you're inclined) is a writer based out of Phoenix, Arizona. After graduating from Northern Arizona University in 2008, he's worked as a music reporter/critic, marketing/copywriter, and resume editor/writer. His journalism and non-fiction have appeared in Consequence, Time, Complex, and Phoenix New Times, among several others. He lives near the Melrose District with his wife, stepdaughter, handsome dog, and two emotionally manipulative cats.

Blue and white cracked wall

CHRIS COPLAN

THIS GOES OUT TO PHILLIP

          I am the crack in my grandfather’s wall. The one that splits the room in half, with a twin bed and a stack of books on one side and old clothes and a hope chest on the other. An eyesore turned aesthetic, offsetting the crying clown portrait and yellow houndstooth curtains. That long, jagged line of melted glue and torn plaster observing endlessly. Seeing only what happens in this very room when he’s alone. When he’s a purer version. The chain-smoking and scribbling of sonnets and devouring of ham sandwiches over a plate of toilet paper. Never the happenings outside these four walls. The sick wife and the absentee children and days at building sites in a molten cityscape and the quiet train rides contemplating an ever-trembling hand. Moments ripped from the heart of life, spent annotating Chandler and Doyle, watching a dog sleep or the sun retreat inch by inch. When the light is gone at last, it’s just grandfather and the crack. He thinks of repairing it somehow, or covering it with family photos or a new painting. It will sit there till he draws his final breath in that same room. When the rest of the house is emptied. After everything has been sold and the kids have all gone out West. Finally, the crack will move itself to another room in another place. A similarly tiny hole packed with true crime books and uncleaned socks. A place of listless solitude, of a truth set outside the pacing of the ceaseless universe. This newer man will watch as a crack appears in perfect white stucco, still not knowing how it came to pass. Maybe he has the wherewithal to act. To place his hand within the crack and feed it something of value. A genial glance or a firm hug or words he always needed. Something like, “I’ve never understood, and you don’t really have to.”

Header image by PaulCalbar from Getty Images

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Dead Skunk Logo: round logo of a white skunk silhouette on a black background with the words “Dead Skunk” in cursive. “Dead” is neon purple and “Skunk” is neon yellow.

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