Saturday, March 3, 2012

What we did before we were born

I was busy being onions and anthracite, peonies and cnidaria. You were a canary, sunshiney and sweet-voiced, and my mother, she had hands of ball lightning and teeth of papaya trees. My father refuses to speculate upon where he came from, but my molecular self recognizes how he was iron unalloyed, hammered hot by ancient hands, and cattails rising from a slow-moving river, and silica sparkling on a shore. He won't say he agrees with me, but I can read the fluency he feels when he has his feet in the sand.

We don't all remember such primordia, the particulars of our solid selves before we were born. I only know these things because my deathless atoms insist upon it. The elements murmur into my incarnate ear about how the stars fell from the firmament, how the magnets came to yearn, taut and polar. They say I can remember how it feels to never die. I listen, percussive with pulse, devoutly bipedal. I like this idea best of all.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Howling House

I moved into my house precisely because it howled. I was lucky enough to view it on a blustery day and even though the realtor said, Oh, That's Just The Wind, I knew better. Down the pitch of the roof the shingles paraded in a pack, as though skidding on the side of a mountain. When I turned on the furnace the floors heaved and hummed, and when I walked through the empty rooms, flipping on lightswitches, the wallpaper squinted and blinked its yellow eyes. I'll Take It, I said. This would be the best house I had ever lived in, a walkway to warble at mailmen, gutters to growl at Girl Scouts, flanked on all sides by drywall and beast.

It was an adjustment, of course. The couch was always covered in fur. The goldfishes vanished from their bowl-- I didn't replace them, I knew what would happen-- and the carpet barked when I started up the vacuum. I couldn't leave meat in the fridge and expect it to be there when I got home: I learned this the hard way, and returned to find the refrigerator door gaping open, vegetables wilted and milk gone sour, the styrofoam tray from the sirloin mangled on the floor. But the doorknobs snored wetly through their leather nostrils at night, and the house purred as it settled on its foundation, and for the first time in my life I didn't mind living alone.

When Mark came over for dinner, he said he kept hearing something pant, but when I looked around, I only saw the tile, licking its chops with its eyes on the gravy. It's Just The Wind, I told him, coaxing the plug of the Cuisinart between the outlet's ivory teeth. He said he couldn't stay; he kissed me goodnight and stepped over the coat closet's tail, raising each foot high so as to avoid touching it. No matter. The bathtub and I licked one another clean, and I settled down to sleep without him on the warm whiskered floor.

Monday, January 16, 2012


The girl I met last night turned out to be a lemon. In her pictures, she didn't look quite so yellow, but when I met her in person she was definitely a lemon, three inches tall and pointed on either end and covered in a finely textured peel. I didn't know quite what to say because I didn't want to be rude, or act like I hadn't known, because when I thought about it her profile had definitely said that she was short and from Florida, and later when I checked I confirmed that she described herself as "zesty," so maybe I'm a dumbass who can't put two and two together. The thing is, I am really not attracted to lemons, but I had already made reservations at this place, and anyway there is no polite way of saying, Hey, This Isn't Exactly How I Thought It Would Be, So I'm Going To Go Home Now, Have A Nice Life Or Something. I try to be a gentleman. So we got our table, we sat down. She had clear skin and a nice shape, as far as lemons go. I liked how she smelled; I don't hate lemons. I'm just not into them.

All throughout dinner, I thought about what it would be like to be in a relationship with a lemon. I had never been out with one before, so I had never spent any time thinking about that kind of thing. I couldn't imagine kissing her, for one. Like, I know that their skin itself isn't sour, but I'd still be afraid of getting a mouthful of juice, and how I'd want to pucker, or spit, and how embarrassed she'd be, because that probably happened to her a lot. And what about socializing? It isn't like she can get in a normal fruit salad with the rest of us: she'd ruin the whole thing. And then I thought, she probably has a family, and friends. What would it be like if, I don't know, she and I got married for some insane reason, and I wound up with this extended lemon family, and they all came over for brunch or something? What does anyone do with a houseful of lemons? What does anyone do with more than one lemon? It made me realize that there are probably a lot of single lemons out there, and the fact that I had only met this one was fairly odd. Think about it: who wants more than one lemon in their life? Maybe some zest, okay, a slice of citrus, a hint of tang. But any more than that gets too sour.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Wisdom teeth

I'm feeling a bit less wise without my wisdom teeth. This is maybe why I haven't said as many things this past week. I am excited, however, to start making wisdom tooth jewelry tomorrow. I am planning on casting my teeth in plastic resin and turning them into awesome pendants. This has nothing to do with fiction, but I'll probably post some pics of my awesome wise tooth jewelry once it's complete. Baller.

Yeah. "Baller."

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Sky People (part I)

Before the Sky People got here, we only looked at the ground. There was no reason to look anywhere else; all that we needed came from under us. We sowed the land, we mined the earth, we dug for water, and we bedded down at dusk. Saplings thickened and grew coarse with bark and sprouted right out of our perspective. We were skilled at knowing the pace at which the grass grew, at mapping the highways of ants. We had bent backs and arms that waved out in front of us. We learned to love one another by the sound of our voices.

On that day the Sky People arrived, a heavy rain was falling. We weren't worried about where it came from: it only mattered that it washed down the hills in foamy brown rivers, that the mud was rising over the tops of our boots. We groped with our arms through the whited-out rainscape to search for shelter from the storm. We crouched together, keeping our eyes downcast toward the burgeoning flood. If we had looked up, we would have seen them fall. But we only heard them arrive: like the rain that they came with, they crashed through the treetops, they hurtled toward the earth and hit the ground with a groan. And there, among the mud, their filthy figures began to unfurl, and they rose up from the sodden soil and straightened their spines and shrieked a suffering shriek. Within minutes, there were dozens of them, all cast down from goodness-knows-where to rise from the earth like trees.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New day (For Nicole)

I woke up early this morning and set the house on fire. I stood in the yard facing a riot of flames and a comparatively understated sunrise. The bellowing heat dried the dew from every blade of grass in the yard. I backed away once my face felt singed by the shimmery air, and my feet stayed dry, even at dawn.

You were inside the house, and you didn't make a sound. I briefly considered how it would have been otherwise. I thought about the slurred and yawning expanse of my life spent gazing at you across the kitchen table. I thought of the clotted, wordless winters, the hushed and stifling summers, a succession of silent seasons to usher us back into the earth.

I thought, too, about the cling of your spidersilk hair between my fingers, the clasp of your teeth on my lips, the brine of your skin on mine in the morning, the soundless way you slumbered as I creaked the cupboard open for matches. I thought of how I could have spent eternity that way, tasting your salty skin, winding my fingers in your hair, coaxing a muted syllable from your lips.

But what kind of a life is that?

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Crush (For Skydancer)

You are the cutest boy I have ever seen in my life and I told all my friends about you and the ones who live nearby all look at you with me when you walk past in the morning and we hold our breath and our stems very still and I hope so hard that you look back at us. But you never do, because what do boys care about flowers? And if I could I would want say something like, Maybe we can go to the movies sometime? but obviously that's impossible and anyway I don't even know what going to the movies actually means, I know it's just something you guys say, and I also want to say, Call me on my iPhone, and I know what those are, I see people walk by who have them, but obviously I don't have my own iPhone, and those are small reasons that I know we will never be together. The big reasons are that you don't know I even exist because what do boys care about flowers? and also I'm an annual and maybe I'm not supposed to know what that means but I do. I do. So there isn't much hope for us and our time to be together even if there was hope is pretty limited. And that's why I think I just need to confess it and say, Okay, I think I love you? And I want you to love me back but I don't even know how you could, you can't hold me or touch me or obviously pick me up, even though I want you to, I want you to pull me out of the earth and take me with you so I am in your hands until I shrivel up and die, but obviously that isn't going to happen, so maybe you can just give me some water, I would like it if you'd water me, I will drink until I drown.