Listless

Sometimes I lose myself in the grocery store, between end-cap and aisle, where patterned socks hang in racks or chocolate bars form ranks. A tiny copper shotglass mimicks a Moscow Mule mug, reflecting myself at myself: did I come here for milk?

 

Sometimes I get nostalgic for our old microstories challenge, so here are 42 words for this week.

Orbit

Tags

We children of stone and sky
I sought one; you chose the other
Her name a shape in the night between
Enormous and heavy as sundown

Downpours mark the stony sea; the sun comes soft and
Often by the shore. I’ll sail no sea
Serer spaces call me
Meet my wildness, sky and stone

Only the echo of your name is here, its
Iridescent ribbon caught between my teeth
Etherial tether; I need no other:
Her name, your name, the stone in my sky

Kine

When we played the game, you were my prey:
I sought you with silk, with steel,
with the petals of a rose

but when you left my bed, when you rose
to walk among the herds of prey
I was left with only a handful of steel.

And now I steel
myself against the scent of a rose;
against soft words, the gentle hands of prey.

My prey is lost in teeth of steel; I am only, after all, a rose.

Long-lost

Tags

The War was over. The stars sat silent and placid outside the Harmony’s portholes. A fat colony ship lumbered past our bow, bound for Colonial space.

Somewhere, governors and generals were inscribing the fine terms of the Treaty.

I, too, sat down to write: Dear Anna.

Bellwether

Tags

,

When I was seven, my mother pried me away from the porthole. They had told me Uncle Ezi was gone among the stars. I did not understand then that they meant he had died. I wanted only to hold the stars.

At twelve I learned the stars’ names, which ones belonged properly to the Alliance and which had gone colonial. Colonial was a dirty word, low-caste and anxious. We walked the line, miners, stealing from planets too small for the name, among stars marked firmly Alliance on the maps.

You can have the stars, now; I’ll take the space between.

July

Tags

In the summer, when the power lines ummmmm
and crackle, when the tar
melts underfoot and the world is fragrant

with the smells of summer, fragrant
with heady lavender and the rose bush is full of the ummmmm
of bees carrying home their weight of honey-tar:

Your eyes are black as night, as coal, as tar
and the dark space between neck and shoulder is fragrant
with salt and sweat and your mouth is full of yes and ummmmm-

In summer, ummmmm, in summer the smell of pine tar in your hair and the world is fragrant.

An indiscreet moment

I tangoed up to the Vice President’s residence
wearing no more than my makeup and skin
and soon the Vice President entered his residence
talking malarkey and reeking of gin
But when the Vice President’s presence was evident
I became tongue-tied and half-paralyzed
and that’s how I toured the Vice President’s residence:
thinking of talking points high on my thighs

(we were discussing problematic crushes at the #DNC when someone who may or may not have been Joe Biden said “the Vice President’s residence” and, well, this pretty much wrote itself after that.)

Swallowing

I never heard the sound of it
but when I listened to you speak
and then it was my only truth:
I could not look away from you

I watched your lips adopt its form
your tongue reshape itself to fit
around the thing between your teeth
as liquid and as light will do

I mapped it out from north to south
and east to west between my hands
I traced it with my fingertips
this alien, this fledged cuckoo

I would not change the form a bit:
the shape of my name in your mouth

 

 

Trying on a bref double for