Prose

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Last night, I sat at the mouth of a humid lagoon, so covered with moss and trees that not even the bloated moon's light could penetrate the dew-dripping canopy. How strange it was to me; I had not been here for a very long time. The stone beneath me was clammy and cold and behind it was the opening to a cave, long abandoned by all but an old mother.

She gestured to me and slowly rose to greet me. When I was much younger, I would rush to meet her halfway, tripping on slippery smooth rocks and stinging myself on the glistening bones of her past dinners. I was much too old now, though, and I waited calmly, patiently for her to seat herself beside me. Her weary bones creaked like an old ship and her scent was strong and salty. She heaved a great sigh between her rotten teeth and I choked a gag back down my throat and locked it away behind a polite smile.

- The Old Man and the Sea, February 2013

Great-Grandfather is dead and the house will not die with him.

 

Your mother is wearing that frayed gray shawl of hers, the one she pulled out of the chipped box at the back of the closet that you aren't supposed to ask about. Her eyes are red-rimmed and sinking with every sob and sniffle, though she has long ceased playing at tears. The stained handkerchief she'd been dabbing at her eyes lies forgotten by an untouched casserole.

- A Wake, June 2017

The alarm clatters to the floor before the shuddering in your body fully wakes you. When you screw your eyes open, the cold dawn is filtering through the cheap gray blinds, casting shallow hills and deep valleys in the piles of neglected laundry lining the perimeter of the worn mattress.

 

You sigh, long and loud, and watch the puff of steam push past your dry lips and dissolve against the dingy sheets. There is a ringing in your skull that leaves your teeth buzzing. With mighty effort, you swallow down the rough patch in your throat and reach out for something---anything---to soothe it.

- Snapped, August 2017

Blip. Blip. Blip.

My name is Leticia Jackson and I am Angry.

Blip. Blip. Blip.

I know that I am Angry because the eyes that fall upon my wrist monitor tell me that I am Angry. I know that I am Angry because the paperwork tucked neatly inside of tightly fastened manila envelopes tells me that I am Angry. I know that I am Angry because the man in the crisp charcoal suit sitting across from me, who calmly drums his fingertips across the steel surface even as a bead of sweat lazily trickles behind his earlobe, tells me that I am Angry.

- The Angry, April 2017

There are swirls of fine, grey dust spiraling about your ankles when your fingers release the weathered rope and the soles of your leather boots hit the packed earth. The whispered thud of each footstep is smothered in the stagnant air and when you draw your next breath--slowly and steadily through clenched teeth--the years of stale neglect are heavy on your tongue. It would seem that your steps are the first to trace this tower in decades.

- Alight, June 2017

You find him nestled neatly inside the crumbling trunk of the gnarled hangman's tree. He pretends that he does not see you for some time and busies himself gliding the shimmering edge of his paring knife along the slick, smooth skin of the apple in his hands. One after another, he slips a sliver of red along the tip of his tongue and works his jaw around it with a flash of straight white teeth between full lips.

 

"Are you lost, little lamb?"

- Red, November 2017

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