Francine Witte

The Itch in Her

It’s Christmas but there’s the itch in her. A heart itch, she calls it. It started when Harry stopped calling. And that was forever ago.

Not really forever. More like a week. But love years are longer, they drag out the night, they itch up your innards.

To now, where she can’t even finish trimming the tree. Place the delicate glass star at the top. Harry bought the star for her last Christmas, when he was here to scratch her inside and out. Told her it was from Denmark and the crystal shivers were sharp so take care. She remembers how he lifted her sweater, undid her jeans and ran the sharp edges down her naked back.

Now, she stares at the star, still sharp, in her helpless hands. How else to scratch what’s inside of you when love has gone away. She smashes the star into pieces. The itch is getting stronger. Harry’s absence getting longer. The shards of glass against her tongue.

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Francine Witte is the author of four poetry chapbooks and two full-length collections, Café Crazy and The Theory of Flesh from Kelsay Books. Her flash fiction has appeared in numerous journals and anthologized in the most recent New Micro (W.W. Norton) Her novella-in-flash, The Way of the Wind has just been published by Ad Hoc Fiction, and her full-length collection of flash fiction, Dressed All Wrong for This was recently published by Blue Light Press. She lives in New York City.