She remembers the vodka-clear starts of nights. Leggings, suede jackets and crimping hair, her sister separating strands.
Encaustic: hot wax tinted with pigment, and each week as you step through the door of his studio, breathing bees, balancing your basket of cleaning things and trying not to see the dark stain on the wooden floor, you understand a little more.
They take the train to Christine’s downtown apartment. They hold martinis and drink up her tales, every delectable word.
Tealights and wedding favors. Chalkboards and house rules.
In this house we smile and we smile and we do not let it slip.
We were never young like the other neighborhood kids. We were old like we had our own house key and knew how to boil noodles that we ate for dinner.
Butchie and I drive north on Water Street, heading into a sunrise that warns us to keep on our toes, this could be the day it all goes to hell.
One by one, the hairs grow back fuchsia and periwinkle, grow like thistle and sea urchins, surging back short as lichen and tall as sunflowers.
Mission: to rid winter of imps and karakondžula. I had no idea what the sign meant, but I applied. I needed work.
It was never easy going back. The gloom was as thick as the damask drapery, and their enormous dusty tassels seemed symbolic somehow, ornamental bonds.
The start of the sound, Sunday salsa in the square. The ice xocoatl is my only relief from the oppressive blaze of the sun, but the locals don’t seem to notice or mind.
My sister said she was coming back as a bird, that way she’d be able to see what was happening from above, be able to see our house, me dawdling to school
Paul couldn’t understand what was happening to him. Each day he woke up a little shorter. I must be shrinking, Paul thought.
She cleared out dead people’s houses, kept something from every house – a spoon or a postcard maybe, once a Bay City Rollers badge, another time a glass swan — binned the rest of the menagerie.
I sat down to make a list of the reasons we no longer sleep together—but there’s no list, just the one thing neither of us want to talk about.
When Leanna’s mother dies, her father takes up gardening. Purple loosestrife and puncture vines sprout from between his lips: winding up her mother’s tomato plants, covering Leanna’s window, clogging the neighbours’ eaves, injuring cattle and choking wetlands, blocking out the sun.
I tell you I’ve only ever shown it to a girl who I met on a tour bus in Moscow, where I was traveling with my parents. She had bad acne, and she really liked Duran Duran.
Kate is not ‘imagining it’. There are small tufts of pale fluff on her neck, and no, it’s not ‘just a tissue in the washing machine’ as John suggests. There’s nothing drifting off his shirts, nothing clinging to Ella’s favourite black top, Josh’s Minecraft t-shirts. It’s more solid than tissue, just on her clothes. And only she can see it.
In the barren cold camp, you wear a dusty cape and top hat, wave my cane as if it were a wand and tell me your dream-stories, one after the next, your words spun and tossed like tethers into the air.
Ignis, the flaming wreckage, bubbling rubber, liquified cloth, her skin charred and blistering, acrid smoke, the tiny thunders of survival’s kicks