Mating Call

Bigfoot has been feeling lonely lately, wondering – self-indulgently, masochistically – what the plural of Bigfoot would even be. Bigfoots? Bigfeet? It’s purely hypothetical. There are no others out there.

Blood Brother

Scoutmaster Justin’s on the pier, leg on a post, balls hanging out of his cut-off shorts like that guy on the Fleetwood Mac album. He has to feel that, has to know he’s flashing the ten of us treading water below. “Dive!” he shouts, all Full Metal Jacket, blows and blows his pink plastic whistle. “It’s cold as hell down there! Watch the cottonmouth nests!”

Secretion

I am a woman more than halfway through my cycle, twenty-one years into a body that has shed 250-some skins through slick, snake-slithering, four-day drains. I grew all the daughters I wanted to conceive and I have borne them into their futures.

Fast as You

I wonder if he catches the same butterfly each time. I wonder if that butterfly has children at home it tells stories to over dinner. I wonder if it flies faster than all the other butterflies in the neighborhood, if its kids watch it with longing, wishing they could fly like that, too.

Brinksmanship

The parent says it’s brinksmanship. Says the courts won’t block a school funding bill if it means closing schools. The teacher says it doesn’t matter. She’s starting a job at an insurance firm next week anyway.

The Pink Trailer with the Flower Boxes

Melvin’s had that rotten glob of stuck-together maraschino cherries plucked right out of his chest and thrown back into the dump. But still, he would give Denise the Astroturf right off his back. He is an avid reader of love letters, and he once tied one of his own, for Denise, to a pigeon’s leg—a difficult task given that he has no viable hands for writing or tying knots.

Aurora Borealis

In life, we are playing with dangerous games: you, the witness of the visiting vatnajökull now blushing pink in the atom sky with the bright comedy of Frigg fooling the ashes of the colour, and I, making a cryogenic favour to the moonless nights

Architeuthis

In December of 2015, a giant squid swam into Toyama Bay in Japan. A local dive shop owner guided the squid back out to the ocean. The squid clung to the diver’s body using its legs' suckers. Later, the diver said the squid was “unexpectedly beautiful, its body glowing red.”

Attachments

In high school, no girl would date them—the conjoined twins who required special seating at the back of the classroom. Who never grew adept enough at matching one another’s stride to be athletic. Who struggled with conversation for the sheer fact that any attempt at talking to another person was uneven, and they would talk over and around one another in an effort not to be the third wheel.

The Point

A poised woman in a pink sarong and a straw hat points at the glass countertop, where the more expensive jewelry is displayed. The man at the register takes out a long chain with a black pearl pendant. Jill pictures an infinity pool and enormous, fluffy towels.

What Happens After

But the worst part for me isn’t a funeral on my sister’s birthday or people at church who bake casseroles I don’t eat or teachers who say I don’t really have to go to recess, not if I don’t want to. The worst part is what happens after—my father leaving dents in the cabinets, holes in the walls.

BONE WORDS

God knows what burrowing near his neck, near the occipital bone, along the base of his skull, where I’d held him. Soft spots no one thinks on. I like paying attention to places on a body most people take for granted. A smear of my lipstick (color, Medieval) true to its claim, everlasting on his Adam’s apple—that sweet hunk of thyroid cartilage named for sin.

Severed

Mae’s been cutting off pieces of herself since she was small. The mosquito bite on her Achilles, gone. The thick patch of eczema on her left shoulder, peeled clean. That one tattoo she got at Myrtle Beach when she was drunk on shitty cocktails, expertly whittled from her rib. And her eye. The purple black bruise he left her with.

Still the Thorns, I’m Not Running

After midnight I see it coming: a finale marked in gravel and salt. I / come down for sinner’s stripes, wear these clothes like queens do, / take the stairs slowly, out of the flood and into blue. This is what / the sun is for; still in the night I collect stars and I collect bees and I / keep them in mason jars, like little yellow dreams, my magic.

Tuna Fish

We didn't like her so we hung her on the wall. Hung her on a coat hook by the back of the stupid dress she always wore, because she wasn’t allowed to wear pants. There were other kids like her. Out where town met not-town, where cars without wheels bloomed in tall-grass yards and roads turned to dirt and pebbles, never plowed in winter, rutted and muddy in spring.

No Joke

It’s aflame with corpses. We live in the past. / Every dead star still burning in our eyes.

OKAY, FLORIDA

Before the hurricane, we had a rosebush. An avocado tree. Limes. The backyard, where we hid plastic Easter eggs, buried the bones of small pets.

Nothing to Hold

After my husband left me, I decided to date a man with no arms because I liked the idea of myself as someone who would not rule out the limbless. Or maybe I thought he would be less inclined to tally up my faults.