the birth of lowercase and a ditty for shmummy
in seventeen or eighteen minutes a single ray of light ransacked the balding lawn around back and shmummy was kicking lowercase out.
lowercase tried like heck not to tear through shmummy’s muddy surface as she pushed, laced her toes through a slat between her ribs, curled her double-jointed pinkie around her kidney.
as shmummy stopped for an irked breath while a hefty aunt who smelled like chicken cutlets massaged her feet, lowercase plopped an eyeball against that stench and scrutinized her future:
pea-green table legs, empty carton of temptee cream cheese, crocheted doll-head toilet cover cozy, and a paint by number of the last supper hanging above the hifi in the dining room.
eviction pressed on. shmummy pushed with the force of an orca, blew a bloody vessel in her right eye and grunted through the sateen bedspread stuffed into her mouth like a gag.
but when lowercase slipped on shmummy’s torment and squelched through a molassesy sadness that saw no end––shmummy was pissed. she inhaled lint and cat fur from the sea of shag carpet, and exhaled the lay-z-boy with the broken lever.
the force was too much. lowercase never wanted out. she grabbed and grabbed and held nothing. she clawed without claws, without bones, without muscles, and held nothing.
lowercase busted a tiny gut trying not to upset ol’ shmummy, and soon enough this tug and pull became their song.
first appeared in great weather for MEDIA
the season of lava and anguish
is gone, and she is nothing
but feathery husk.
l.c. sweeps the porch.
a light spray of frost
crosses rotting boards,
and there she is,
everything on mum’s face
eaten, half-eaten. she has
finally become the uncolor
l.c. desires; if only gray or soot
could fully describe this.
if only l.c. could have been there
as each incisor pierced, sunk,
her fairness giving in, her sepals
bucking, the horror of the clouded light.
l.c. stops sweeping to hold her.
mum’s crisp head warbles
on a tress of shriveled wheat.
l.c.’s fingers whiten, thunder into numb,
and with this raw unfelt
she will edge into every fissure
of autumn until the weeping begins.
first appeared in Permafrost
l.c. just started gasping, panting like a tuckered-out pooch rasping. they were out driving on a country road. pine trees, braided sky, chipped barns, fruit stands. pull over, she yelled, shmummy, pull over. lowercase staggered off into the woods like a broken gazelle, searched high and low for air, and hid behind a sprawling bush. if tears are water parks! if blood is thick! her face, a soaked t-shirt heaped beside the tub. lowercase gulped and choked like a codfish flopping on a splintered deck. she stopped to rest and tried like heck to catch her breath then spotted a little yellow flower at her feet. she crouched to look at it close up, and it spit at her. a brown sticky molassesy spit eeled across her cheek. she tried like heck to yank the little yellow flower from the ground, but couldn’t. the flower bit the tip of her thumb with teeth that looked like claws. blueblack blood trickled down, so she planted a big sugary peck on the flower’s ghastly maw. then it was the flower’s turn. it rasped and hacked and coughed up it’s little flower lung. lowercase thought she might be looking into a magic mirror. she sat patiently gazing at the flower’s buttery petals curling in out and her naughty breath returned. worried that shmummy was worried, she sprung up, brushed the blobs of dirt and grass from the bum of her shorts, and skedaddled back to the car where shmummy was busy working on her crosswords.
first appeared in Fourteen Hills