The sunlight made everything blurry–or maybe it was the hangover. She shouldn’t have gone out last night with Greg. She was an agent now, expected to make critical, mature, intelligent decisions. Such as not getting wasted with a co-worker on a Tuesday night.
It had been, however, to celebrate her promotion. Stuffing her face back into the pillow, she burrowed her hands beneath it and pricked herself.
“Ouch,” she muttered, and withdrew the sharp item.
Her new badge. Silver and ornate, heavy and… hers. She was officially Agent Paulson, one of the Association. One of an elite group of werewolf-hunters. One of… the victims of the worst hangover she could ever remember.
losing definition of myself and wondering if it’s okay, screeching top down hair whipping high school legend on the highway is what i never was
Pit bulls huddle beneath sky rockets fallen among the pick-ups and Toyotas. Vagrants gone, food gone, puddles of oil and rain water abound. Somewhere, in an asparagus-green sky, their masters rotate in silver star-condos. A rib cage expands and contracts. Far off, in an apartment building, a girl wakes, alone, in a pile of dirty laundry. She puts on shoes and coat and goes looking for them, with scraps in her pockets and lemon-scented hair.
When did it start? I think
that one time when you meant to prop your knee up on the bed and tripped and fell onto the floor. When I made you mad, and it hurt me. Getting to touch you wherever I want whenever I want, and that empty feeling as I wait for you to touch me back. A little loneliness, knowing you or me are not enough. Cold sheets. Hot air. The back of your head. Fear of falling off the balcony ledge like little paper ashes
this is here. the place that i’m always coming back to. the craving eats me up inside, soft poison touch floating over that delicate delicate thing we call happiness, fluttering like a veil at the top of the mountain, nestling down below in the dark bitter earth. waiting for me to come home.
every time i climb over your skin i feel like i am falling into your imperfections. the patches of skin where i feel your anger, softest. you know i have a sick adoration for your dirty blues and black thoughts.
Werewolves playing billiards again at Sam’s. I hang back, watching. They’re pretty good; they’ll take you for a twenty or so. They’re not out for blood. Not like the kids in their hoodies, pretending to be sixteen. Now them, you need to watch out for. They’ll take you for everything you’ve got.
All that decadence, and no one to ignore it. No one to treat it with indifference, no one to walk past, as if gilded vases filled with crystal lilies were in everyone’s houses.
Only me, and if I am the only one to see it, and no one sees me amidst it, does it even matter? Perhaps nothing matters anymore, or more likely, the things that matter now have always been important, but we treated them like dust upon our golden o’bjets: to be wiped away, quickly, before anyone sees.
I hoist the crossbow and take aim. One of them is at the French doors, coming in. It wears Armani, tattered. Perhaps it used to live here. Perhaps it is as appalled by the world outside now as it was then; or perhaps it merely scented me. The arrow flies, and the dead teeters back, back, into the half-empty pool. I shut the doors and lock them, and pretend it was I who used to live here.
Deirdre stalled for time, brushing biscuit crumbs from her trousers. The dragon leaned its massive head closer and peered at her through one blood-red eye.
Deirdre gulped. The creature’s breath alone was like a furnace. What would its flame be like, should she answer wrong?
“I think, sir,” she said after a moment, “that yes, I should very much like a ride.”
Sly poured himself another orange juice. It tasted like morning, curtains closed, and oatmeal on the stove, bubbling up. It tasted like Callie was still here, moving about the kitchen, telling him to drink his o.j.
It tasted like days that would never come again. He shoved it off the table and let the glass break.
They’ve adapted. We’re on the run, now. All our defenses turning to dust–literally. Now that the plants have turned photosynthesis into a weapon of destruction, and they’ve mobilized, we’ve nowhere to go, except to the mountains.
Up the rocks, past deadly lichen. Avoiding murderous stunted pines. Up, up. It’s the only way to hide.
Closer to the sun, though…
We the educated: we are few, we are
scissored in half by the world
If you need a friend, look to me, look elsewhere, look
inside. This book has arrived just in time
sport a passage or two upon your neck for
all the world to see
i like things in ink and blood– too heavy for the every day man, i know, but i’ve always been too invested and yet not open enough. closed and hard like a cold iron drillpoint powered by nothing but puffs of air, sort of like the whirling hurricane that pirouettes en pointe with it’s head in the clouds, but without the dignity. the only words i won’t take back are the ones that i write, but in the meantime, please let me take back my self from your heart.
I. if i loved you any less
i would still swallow you whole –
II. that moment when you leaned in near to me
to say something just as fragile;
i was too caught up on slowing my heart to pay attention,
i always miss the important parts
Each day we pray the weathered barn will fall, of its own accord and not at anyone’s hand; certainly not by ours. We watch through curtains mildewed and thick, hoping for the vibration that will tell us the boards are giving way. Some afternoon, some sweet afternoon, the barn may fall. And on that day, Diana, and all of us, will shudder with relief at the abattoir of our elders having finally turned to dust.
These are days of miracles, certainly. She thinks that every day since the night she met him has been full of amazement. Even the most mundane things are full of sparkle. It’s as if a miraculous treasure chest opened, and blinded her with its contents, and now all she can see are the glittering diamonds left in his wake.
When the cutest of the little dragons was finished sneezing, we gathered them into a basket and apologized for all the pepper. They grinned toothy grins and spat sparks, and allowed us to carry them all the way to school. Matthew had an old bee hive; Julie had her grandma’s teeth. But we had a basket of dragons, all bright and vicious and adorable. Show and Tell Day was ours.
he doesn’t talk to me about the silver lining
he says, if i don’t know it, he can’t take me there;
it’s a stillness in the collapsed lungs between our breaths,
and in the morning when he wakes up beside me
he pulls a journal from underneath his bed
writes down last night’s dream
and doesn’t let me read
at breakfast he will peel an orange
and for the rest of the day his hands will smell like sweet citrus,
but by breakfast i’ll be gone
and have to remember them from the moving distance of my car
Dragons lie across the valley, lethargic in the heat, bellies swollen and glistening green-yellow with the eggs they protected. Above, on the valley rim, two thousand soldiers circled, watching for something else, something worse than dragons.
At dusk, a comet blazed across the purple sky, trailing gold fire and turning from the stars to the dragon-filled valley. The soldiers raised their spears and lifted their cannons. A rumble started below, dozens of dragons with slitted eyes watching as the comet tore through the air, a ripple of black heat swelling into that something else.