Other Kinds of Freezing
Rick left a bag of apples we’d picked in October in the lazy Susan of his almost-furnished apartment, the dodgy place he rented on Goddard Street, and by Christmas we discovered they were still there, but not until I’d spent the weekend fixated on the fruit flies they attracted—it was December in Michigan, and they had no business there as far as I was concerned—flying into the creases of my eyes, puttering at my nose like slow twin-engine planes, and so I confronted him as part-houseguest, part-long-time girlfriend, part bitch, because my partly-er-mostly-passive-aggressive grumbling and my I’ve-had-it-up-to-here shrill tone hadn’t resolved shit, so there I was demanding some sort of fruit fly resolution or revolution when he (insistent he had no idea where they were coming from) found the rotten bag he’d stashed, folded it shut (entrapping them before they met the frozen air) and sheepishly took them to the dumpster—but the thing is, I don’t know if I’m more mad about those nasty flies or the shame-faced, limp dick, meek way he slinked out of the apartment.
Mother hated hospitals so she jumped out the window and broke her back which was all right because the doctors didn’t expect her to last the night anyway.
The boy raised by ostriches has been understandably reluctant to talk with the media.
In the beginning was a spark which caught, somewhere in the smoke, a bit of organic dust like a small flint of hope in which we became caught up—a rolling burn that brought me and you and us into existence—an avalanche of being and becoming and sometimes wishing the spark had caught some other bit of dust that would not have burned; but we are becoming, and I ask, “Are you ready to be a universe and to have insides that burn and war and explore your far reaches—to feel your planets spin and fight their gravity?”
My miniature schnauzer had only ever wanted to sleep in a pile of dirty laundry, lick his balls in private for as long as I’d had him, which is to say, since he was three months old and infested with hookworms and scared I might kick him like his breeder had, until he pissed himself, until he gave in to whatever it was dogs gave into when they lost faith in their people.
Portrait of the Special Effects Artist As a Boy
When eight-year-old Stephen snuck into the viewing room and, with difficulty, raised the closed coffin lid, it took him several moments to recognize his father’s face—half had been covered in make-up, inexpertly; half was misshapen and splotched—after which he’d wished the truck had burst into flames upon impact, like car wrecks do on TV, leaving behind only ashes instead of this bargain-rack Halloween mask that could never be slipped off and lost in an attic.
ANOTHER COLLECTIVE NOUN FOR “QUAYLE”
A bevy, a covey, a drift, a tremble of quail.
Looking for love, blindfolded.
DEFINING THE INDEFINABLE
“Not infrequently” is slightly fewer than “fairly often.”
He Asks Me What Color My Heart Is
And I ask him how well he can see in the dark.
The paramedics sent her last text: itsyours.
Katie M. Flynn
She’d been stalked, she explained, no big deal, a reedy sound in her voice, false, lying, definitely a big deal, but how could she tell him the truth, what with his jealous outbursts and fits of rage, even if it wasn’t his fault his hormones were off balance and he always felt alone and the meds his doctor gave him made him want to sock himself in the face when she joked that he should be proud, dating the kind of girl who warranted a stalker, but stalker aside, she was unexceptional, he’d concluded after fourteen weeks of sex and breakfast smoothies, a lot of emoji-saturated texts between meetings, searching for her on the dance floor among the girls in their bandage dresses, reminding himself, she’s the one looking for you, dummy, and he’d fold his arms around her bird-boned body, ready to pound anyone who dared to agree she was the best looking number in the whole club, and she wanted to scream, come on, let a girl live, because for a while there she hadn’t wanted to go out at all and then she’d met him, with his cradle arms and a smell like baked happiness, and God, she needed that, to feel solid, wrapped up in his tanning bed-browned arms, held close to the hot oven that churned him—she was tired of forgetting, of letting it go because it had happened, he stalked me, and you are going to hear all about it, you hear, Mister?