The Thing in the Garden
Jodie’s body is a garden. After the cancer came they took off her breasts, and over the thick belt of scar, she tattooed Eden. Those gnarled green branches, that tongue-pink tropical flower, peaches so ripe and round you’d think you could squeeze them still. I held her hand in the tattoo shop, while the girl she’d worked with on the design bent over her body, holding the tattoo gun. She was a skinny girl, her head half shaved in the way the young kids are wearing it now.
Three Things That Happened
There were three things that happened to the pear tree, which was typical because disasters usually come in threes, and this rule did not make exceptions for fruit trees. The first was the baby bird.
The Ceiling of the Porch is Blue
“Isn’t it possible? People can be ghosts. Why not places?”
She sighs, tilting her face up, and all the tiny changes in her appearance come together. Her cheeks are longer, skin pinched around the eyes. Winnie always had dramatic facial expressions.
Walk like a Gorilla, Talk like a Gorilla
I wasn’t prepared when her eyes opened, and she looked at me with absolute clarity, fully conscious, making me feel ridiculous. The image of that moment is sharp as glass at the end of the tunnel. There may have been fear in her look, desperation, fury, but there wasn’t a hint of giving in.
Double Exposure by Hannah Schultz
Everything else fades, and my eyes go right to her chest with a panicked flick. I freeze in the doorway, and my dad moves as if nothing is wrong, asking me in a soft voice to close the door behind me before I let all the heat out. I have to watch several times as her chest rises slowly, depressing with the air whistling out of her open mouth, before I can shut the door. Breathing means functioning lungs. Breathing means life.
The Urg by Constance Renfrow
The Urg moaned again, a loud rusty protest just as our episode resumed, and I threw my arms into the air. “Is this going to go on all day?” my little girl voice rising too high in my excitement, a shrill ache, like too much sugar at the bottom of my teeth.
Zapata Foots the Bill by Fernando A. Flores
At a shop called La Boutique off Monk Street and Breakfast Avenue, where businesses rarely lasted more than half a year’s lease, the muralist Eduardo Salamanca bought a dark brown shirt with an airbrushed image of the revolutionary Zapata. He walked out wearing it, with his old shirt in a plastic bag, and asked himself what else was in store for the day.
With her mother, The Daughter was different. She would express herself loudly, stretching herself above her five-foot frame, trying to match herself to the majesty that was her mother, never quite measuring up, but never giving up. They enjoyed this combat of wills, mother and daughter, though sometimes, this contest would end with one or the other stomping off to cry silent tears of frustration.