Some things I’ve written…
‘Tooth #7’ – published at Corium Magazine
The dentist’s assistant takes an X-ray and asks me how it happened.
“A door,” I say, the lie I came up with on the bus falling quickly from my mouth. “Someone opened a door right as I was walking up to it.” I notice my new lisp when I say “someone.”
‘Plugs’ – published at The Writing Disorder
We started wearing earplugs to help with the insomnia. Well, for me it’s insomnia, but for Carl it’s just that he’s a light sleeper and I keep him awake with my insomnia, or so he claims. The real truth, I tell him, is that he keeps me awake with his snoring. The neon tennis-ball colored rubber bullets are like sleeping pills; a few minutes after we pop them in, we’re both out. Carl keeps saying we should be careful, that it might get to the point where we can’t sleep without them. What would happen if we were staying somewhere where there were no earplugs, he asks. I tell him that’s ridiculous, we haven’t stayed anywhere but our own house in years, except for that one horrible trip to visit his parents in Michigan last spring. He says we shouldn’t be relying on the earplugs to sleep. By then I have mine in, and I can hardly hear him. It feels like we’re underwater. “What?” I say. He tries to keep talking but my eyes begin to close as I watch his lips move. “What?” I say again when he stops. He just sighs and pops his in. Then we sleep. It’s so good with the plugs. It’s deep sleep. I feel like I’m making up for years of not sleeping.
‘The Hole’ – published at FLAPPERHOUSE
WE MEET IN A HOLE IN THE SAND. There’s also a dead seagull in the hole, but it’s a big enough hole that we don’t step on it.
He had seen some kids digging the hole earlier, he says, so it was silly of him to fall right into it. He was jogging, he says, staring at the sun as it sprinkled his eyes with little flash-pops. When he looked forward again, he couldn’t see where he was going. That was how he’d fallen into the hole.
‘Portraits’ – flash piece published at Extract(s)
Together we look at other people’s portraits. We love self-portraits, especially those by Renoir, who is a master at capturing his inner essence. Our favorite self-portrait is by Norman Rockwell. We like the self-reflexive nature of that one. We like how we become part of the piece just by looking at it.
We like belonging to museums. We keep signing up for memberships even though we really can’t afford it. We like the silent rooms filled with art, the silent guards like installations themselves. We like to wear shoes that make soft tapping noises on the gallery floors. We stand for long stretches and just observe, both of us refusing to be the first to move on, as though it would concede that we didn’t fully absorb the piece.
One museum is offering a self-portrait painting class, included in our membership. We sign up on the spot, giddy with excitement. Finally, a chance to put our observations of portrait art to good use!
We flick our brushes with furious precision. We spend hours in the art studio, focused on our canvases. We paint our faces like smooth, round stones. We discuss the complexity of Frieda Kahlo and Van Gogh. We use tricks of light and shadow to highlight our cheeks, our lively, intuitive eyes, our mysterious half-smiles.
When the portraits are finished, the teacher hangs them up, side by side, next to the rest of the portraits, and commends us for our good work. We smile graciously, heads bowed.
But when we look up again, we can no longer tell which portraits are ours. We search the wall, but we are unidentifiable in the rows of tiled faces. We are careful not to look in the mirror across the room, afraid of what we might see.
‘The Lovers’ Spat’ and ‘The Birds’ – flash pieces published at Mojave River Press
‘What Daddy Was’ – published at Spry Literary Journal
My mother doesn’t love me now that I am fat.
It’s not her fault. She can’t help it.
I can’t help it, either.
‘The Showgirl’ – published at Dunk Monkeys
Charlene had been waiting a long time. She considered patience to be one of her best qualities, however, and she did not like to complain. She was drinking the last of the good brandy in a purple flower-patterned teacup. It was a fine day for celebration, she thought.
‘Unlucky Bunnies’ – published at Blank Fiction Magazine
At the arboretum, Andrew was so quiet that I finally asked him if something was wrong, and that was when he started to cry. He told me he’d “slipped up.” The image that popped into my head was a cartoon version of him slipping on a freshly washed floor, arms flailing comically.
Of course, this is not what he meant.
‘Last Blueberries of Summer’ – published at Citizen Brooklyn.
Barbecue smoke slips around the bleached curls of her hair as she pops another blueberry between her front teeth. Purple blood pools in the crease of her bottom lip. I’m too close. I lean back and take a swig of beer. Don’t want her to think I’m looking. Don’t want Joanie, over by the pool, to notice either.
‘That Shirt’ – flash piece published at Extract(s).
I keep thinking about that shirt. I want to know what happened to it. The desire to know makes my body ache. I didn’t know that was possible, but it does. It aches.
It was one of my favorite shirts, a color that suited me perfectly. You would say that the color really made my “eyes pop,” and I would envision them bursting forth from my head, bulbous oceanic orbs.
Where is that shirt? I can’t remember if I left it on your bed that day we fought, or if it’s still in your suitcase from the trip to Niagara Falls. We had such a good time there. Remember? I didn’t feel cold, even as we stood at the edge of the neon falls, the spray an invisible sheen on our faces.
Do you have my shirt?
I like to think that you’ve kept it all this time, that my scent still clings to it; and that on the nights when you can’t sleep, you tiptoe to the closet, careful not to wake her, where you keep it sealed in a plastic bag. While she slumbers, you smell it. You smell me.
I’d like to think that.
‘Tonight Is Just Like Last Night’ – published at Black Heart Magazine.
I watch him roll a joint. I am a mannequin. I sip red wine out of a plastic cup.
Soul’s hunched over the mossy clumps of weed on the coffee table – a piece of wood on a couple of truck tires – his thin wife-beater exposing the unfinished tattoo of Jesus on his bony shoulder. He’s sitting on a faded gray couch we found in the alley today. The center cushion’s scorched right through, leaving a gaping black burn. I imagine someone took a flame-thrower to it. Or to somebody, who moved out of the way just in time.
I kind of like it. It fits well in the apartment.
‘CL’ – published at Gemini Magazine
Q buys things, and then sells them. He spends all day scouring Craigslist and then at night he picks me up in his old BMW and we drive, always somewhere new, me in the passenger seat that’s stuck in permanent recline, bare feet on the dash, soft jazz coming out of the one good speaker as I switch between navigation and texting our whereabouts and negotiations to unfamiliar numbers.
‘Lunch’ – published at The Faircloth Review
She wanted to meet for lunch, she said. She called him up on the phone—which had been disconnected because he hadn’t paid the bill, but for some reason could still receive calls—and told him to meet her at California Pizza Kitchen. He was hung-over, but he said okay, and she said okay, great. Then she said she would be bringing the baby.
‘Neighbor’ – published at Infective Ink Magazine
I lie with my head on his shoulder, my leg stretched over his thighs, my breasts pressed against his side. We’re both fully clothed and I can feel him breathing, even though it’s quiet and he doesn’t snore or anything. I can’t fall asleep because I’m worried that he’ll wake up. If he does wake up, he’ll leave. I keep my eyes closed and just feel him, warm beside me on the red cotton sheets my aunt bought for me after I gave my blue ones to the Hospice people so my grandmother could die on them.