Friday, January 20, 2012

A Tidy Kitchen

“You killed him with snickerdoodles?” Charlie gaped.

“I didn’t know he was allergic to cinnamon.”

“We can be together now.”

She traced a heart on the steamed glass. “After sufficient mourning.”

“I can wait.” He snuck a brownie off the plate.

She finished the dishes, dried her hands, and stepped over his body. “Walnuts, Charlie. You should have asked first.”

With the house locked up, she slid into the seat of the new truck. Hers, now. Just down the road, a young man with strong hands and an easy smile waited. He’d promised not to ask her to cook.


“You gon’ say t’weren’t none of your doing, but I ain’t blind.”

“Mostly, Gran, you are.”

“Only to the living world.” Gnarled fingers flicked as she tatted lace, the motion so ingrained she did not need to see. “What you call your piece of art?”

“The Pulchritudinous Dream.”

“Dead Girls in the Swamp a better name.”

“I bought the dresses at auction,” I protested.

“Then why them three in the corner so mad at you?”

I didn’t want to see the girls, still dressed in the matted gowns I’d hung for my photo. They smiled – again – and came for me.


He took me to the chapel, long abandoned by the dead. You’d think spirits would linger to protest the removal of their corporeal forms. There was nothing but monsoon winds without water, as if the ocean knew better than to rise up against him as we had.

He took me in the chapel, by the altar of a fickle god, no murmured endearments, no matrimonial promises. I knew the moment I changed, transcending from human to that which serves, ever ready, never sated. Then I knew nothing but His love, His will, His truth.

Thus was the world made new.


Gary throws a knuckle ball, believing I won’t make the connection. Imagine his surprise when the crack of a bat sends 5 ounces of leather-covered hell directly towards his head. He ducks, too late to miss impact entirely, too soon for my taste. He’s laid out, but not out cold.

I don’t drop the bat as I head in his direction. He thinks I’m going to help him up, and maybe I would, if he hadn’t spent the last year telling me “Be a winner; dial up your game to ten.” Fucking corporate buzzwords. He deserve what comes next.


Blades of grass tickled my nose. Just above the rise, ruby sunflowers tilted toward afternoon. Hot, loamy smells came off the rotting compost near meimei’s garden. I tried to rise, but sharp pain interfered.

“Musta been pretty drunk to sleep here.” The ground was wet under me. I didn’t remember the storm.

I pushed the button on my necklace. For a young man, I am very old.

No one came to evacuate me.

Teeth gritted, I pushed up onto my knees. All around me, the things my sister had planted writhed. I was the only one to crawl away.

Hall of Truth

I sweep the steps of Pharaoh’s Pleasure Palace. You stumble in, drunk on cheap wine and looking to warm your cockles. When I was fair, I turned away your kind. My ruination did not add to your appeal. 

Yesterday, you kicked a boy for failing to service you. I bandaged him up in the alley. His mum gave me bricks for the fire. Same ones I set, glowing warm, under the seat in your carriage. There’ll be enough time to unhitch the horses, but no cabman will think to save you from burning. 

I hope Amenti eats your wasted heart.