All tagged magic

The Cuts

The day after she died, my wife comes back to cut up my clothes: little waning moons at the hems of my dresses, the necks of my sweaters, the sleeves of a heavy flannel shirt she had once given me for Christmas. The floor of our closet—which still smells like her, powdery and clean—is littered with scraps.

Baba Yaga's Delaware Youth

When I wake up, the house is on human feet. I think at first that I must still be sleeping, dreaming about dropping from the sky into Where the Wild Things Are. Stranger dreams have happened after drinking too much, and we did drink a lot last night. Remember?

Basil

When I lived in the swamplands, rowing from one place to the next, I met the devil. The locals swear if you stick around there long enough, you see him. They say he’s tall, dark, red, with claws, with teeth; that one day you’ll feel him tapping your shoulder or tickling your ankle. So, you start to look for him in every toad that croaks, every crane that lands softly on a mossy shore beside you, every mosquito that buzzes past your ear.

And Then I Cursed This Motherfucker

This Motherfucker, he turned his face toward me, with his slightly receding hairline and his upper-lip sweat, and he sneered at me. His face melted from well-to-do into feral beast. “Listen lady,” he said, “I have as much right—”

“They’re not a lady,” my daughter interrupted.

The Second Star

Marcus was plugging in our new alarm clock when I noticed his tattoo. He was wearing a thin white T-shirt and I could see the star, small and blue, through it.  

“What’s this?” I asked and swept my hand over his back.

“I’ve had it a week,” he said. He pushed the nightstand back against the wall. The new alarm clock still flashed twelve. 

The Candle Farmers

We grew candles on our farm. It was always night. I carried embers in a copper bucket and trailed behind my mother. Under the candlelight, the ground was warm. I tucked my plait down the back of my dress. We walked narrow pathways through fields of candles. The glow hurt my eyes, so I looked up at the darkness and star blink. When we reached the empty plain, we dug holes and planted the embers. I didn’t know if my fingers were black with dirt or soot. 

The Renovation

There’s a face behind our sink. Scratch that. There’s a face behind the tile above our sink. I hope that makes sense. It’s hard to describe, really. We chiseled away that old tile, we chipped off countless layers of caked-on grime, and there’s this face. Plain as day. Or maybe not plain as day.

We Are All at Risk

Some people live like this until they don't live anymore. And then their bodies are peeled from the ceiling and bundled into caskets. Charcoal-gray suits and church dresses lined with lead to hold them still. Weight created so they are compliant and present in death as they weren't in life. Sometimes during the service these methods fail and the body bumps up against the lid and wavers a little, a sideways fish tank fish rocking stiff and lifeless against the glass. 

Luli

It wasn't until our first exchange of words that I began to understand Luli. It happened in the girl’s locker room, before gym. We were alone. I hung up my school uniform and Luli slipped off hers, revealing across her chest the red fractal patterns of lightning. Thin scars alternating like geese feet.

The Migrating Words

Every year, we watched the words leave. Lana stood on the roof edge. I leaned against the chimney; the bricks were like tree scratch. We didn’t have much talking left. She said something and pointed to a bit of sky I couldn’t see. I inched closer, my feet wobbling on the roof tiles. She gripped my arm. I gazed over the town. We saw the words rise. 

Gerd, the Girl with Too Many Arms

She grows up hearing all the rumors about her mother’s death, about how the girl with too many arms forced her way out of the womb with her many hands and split her mother in half. But they have been taking the measure of her since she was a tiny baby, wondering how so many limbs could pass easily out of the same woman, and they have drawn their own conclusions. The girl with too many arms doesn’t think much about it.

The Dog Thing

The Dog-Thing (we had nothing better to call it) walked on two legs, and for all we know, was quite happy. He (she? it?) went for short walks in the morning, and longer walks in the evening. We can only guess as to why: the beach is less crowded.

A Month Before the Sun

The cup. I see it now: white, made of paper, steaming. I’m eager, for some reason, to get to the bottom of it. To empty it, despite the heat of its contents, as quickly as I can.

There’s a secret at the bottom.