“Someday, you’re going to fuck up so magnificently, so ambitiously, so overwhelmingly that the sky will light up and the moons will spin and the gods themselves will shit comets with glee.”
My new story “Shelled Locusts” found a home at Spirit’s Tincture!
The kitchen floor lined with cracked linoleum, bubbled with the smell of garlic-laced handprints. Rena stood closely to the counter and peeled away cornhusks, the soft strands of silk piling on the floor and her feet. She put the rough husks to the side—later, they would roll tamales, as they had every week for as many years as Rena could remember.
Her father sat in the corner on a rusted folding chair. He was whistle-thin with a mean curve to his back. Shells gathered in small piles on his lap, the floor, and a reed basket as he hulled speckled peas and wrapped his hands around the slender neck of his eighth bottle. With her sleeves rolled up, Rena studied the bruise that colored the length of her forearm as she pulled a toothbrush among the kernels. Forgetting herself, she knocked her arm against the counter, and her head rushed quickly. Dizzy, she stepped backward.
Rena’s father glanced upward and shifted in his seat. “Take care to keep the corn husks full, girl. Won’t do any good if they’re broken to bits” he said. Rena ran her arm under cold water in the sink and hoped her chest would quieten before the day ended, when she could curl and let her body repair itself. She felt a small tapping that began to tickle the surface of her skin, across her back, her thighs, her earlobe.
Her father grunted as he stood. “A real shame,” he said, dropping his beer bottle into the sink with the clean corn. His body was sick with sweat. “Light’s fading. I don’t know if we’ll have time to roll tamales tonight. Maybe tomorrow.” He dipped another beer from the cold box and fell onto his old cot, not bothering to change out of the clothes he’d worn for three days.
Find “The Woman to the Doctor” here!
Find it here!
In D.C., I pocket my husband
alongside my pictures,
open-mouthed and filled with teeth.
He says he doesn’t remember
the city in the same way I do.
I’ve noticed there’s more water
in Kansas than D.C. It seems
like a lot of things
should be fountains here,
but they aren’t.
Someone told me those words
would look nice in a poem. I agreed,
took a note. But I wasn’t lying—
all the fountains are puddles at most,
their speckled granite or blue linings
dry and solemn as
the extra chain-link fence
that surrounded the White House
a short, empty time ago.
Find it published here!
She pulled away corn husks,
the fine silk piling on her feet
and masking cracked linoleum
until the floor shone
Her father’s hands hulled
speckled peas and wrapped
around the slender neck
of his eighth bottle
the blood rush in her ears.
When she was alone,
she’d cut herself in half
and count the rings.
She often found locusts nestled
within her, their hollow thrums
echoing in her chest
that a seventeen-year-old
body is not a fragile thing.
Source: 2017 Beecher’s Magazine Contest
“You think you a strong man, Mr. Caesar. But you got that gun. That tell me all I need to know. I see that gun and I know the truth. A man will come and stand and look at the stars. That gun can’t take that away from him. You can shoot him but sooner or later somebody gonna come and stand in the same spot. He’s gonna come and stand and count the stars” (Wilson 79).
August Wilson’s Gem of the Ocean contains a surprising amount of commentary beyond that of race and class. As the University of Kansas battles to keep guns off campus, I find that the above quote provides a poignant example of literature as a method of persuasion.
Fight hard, my friends.
Grey Goose and Grim Grins
I saw a mockingbird
crack a joke
morning. She dipped
into my coffee–
my daughter’s voice
And the wren
that I, like my daughter,
nooses with the cusps
of my split-ends,
cut into cords. I
upward to the draft
floating the wren
First Published with Jet Fuel Review
The garlic clove crunches under a mallet’s
teeth, or maybe your palm.
Picture this: a red-headed
child walks in the door,
swinging her backpack.
She asks why the triceratops eat only flowers.
You’ve taught her to love the unknown,
fear the omnipotents,
but she wants the answers anyway.
she feels like July
as she pulls away the cornhusks and leans
on your side
of the table. She tells you
stir fry makes the grass grow,
but weeds live in the oil. Lemon juices race
down your arm, burning
into the mosquito bite on your elbow.
Outside, rain patters the tulips.