Three Letter Word for Grief
He hands me a scrabble dictionary. He wants me to squawk words at him in the middle of the night. We sit on his mother’s couch. My legs stick to the scotch-guarded fabric. I use the dictionary to find a three letter word for grief. Woe, I say. He places my hand on his thigh. I think of words I do not know.
Not Like Beautiful
There was a beginning to it. He wore eyeglasses as big as fish bowls, hid his ashy elbows underneath long sleeve shirts. “Your mouth has a cottony taste,” he said after he kissed me. I waited days for him to take my small hands in his, tell me I was something not like beautiful but on a path to it.
He dreams of his jaw wired shut. Does it hurt? she asks and fishes around his mouth. She imagines them drifting together at sea, bumping up and down in the water. He tells her about the glow of phytoplankton. Algae coloring the shore blue. She closes her eyes and pictures his boyish nakedness. He’s looking for an answer to his dream. What do you see? he asks.
Nicholas Cook’s work has appeared in New World Writing, Camroc Press Review and New Flash Fiction Review. He currently lives in Texas.