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The alphabet sung the distance, key-tapped radiowaves that the submarines poured into their metal shells and bulleted back across the surface. A chair creaked softly. Black hair was push pulled by white fingers, clawed into a lump and corn danced in fields I’ve never tasted, the thick heads buffeting into one another, breaking to the sound of feet. The breeze called again, and again. There was some thing, some cloud, some bird flying south… She kisses her slick bubblegum teeth white, whiter than wet chalk to stone, snapping each pop back to jaw, I hate her for it. I hate that invisible face with a sadness I cannot name. The boys wait, off stage. I will hate them too. The crack of a glass beaker and the hiss of fingernails ghosting over skin. The radiowaves are silent. Nothing grows anymore. So a susurrus through nothing, no trees, no nests of cotton, this alien skin, alien face age pulling at it like a surgeon’s knife— In this alien bed my flesh starts to doubt, now I’m not so sure ... Dirt under fingernails No, that was another. Now how many endings stand against my teeth? Soft skin and cold pink bathwater, bath pulling from the mastic. Here with a bright spectral face glowing in the evening, the caught breath of the conflicted the best or the worst Either way it’s done. The black crawls to the floor. For better or worse.

Grace Cohen