All tagged mother nature

Colors of Flamingo

One by one, you pull a feather through your mouth. Each feather loosens and falls from your flamingo body. Soon, the tile floor holds a heap of your old self. It almost looks like you: a pile of white shapes, yet false form.


Since June, I’ve been working a sawmill job forty miles south of the place I’m living. There’s nothing to rent out there, even the single-wides eaten up by folks who’ve been in the mountains twenty years or more. But the mill pays better than waitressing, or bagging groceries at the A&B. It’s a temporary thing, the way I see it. A means of getting out.

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.

Protective Instinct

Arundhati moves across the country, east to west, after the Lyme. There aren’t any deer in California, someone buying pears tells her in the grocery store, and she passes that on to her teenage daughter and husband. She adds, I just want to be somewhere safe, and with how she survived for them, fought that infection once-nestled in her brain, who are they to argue?


My husband—he’s a butcher—and he brings home the best meats. Livers, he likes those best. And he watches me slice them into long strips. I cook them up for him and I skin potatoes and other vegetables, put them in a pot and let the juices run together. He doesn’t lick his lips because he’s not an animal, he says. Says animals belong in a pot. He’s a man, he says. Just a man. A man who has an affinity for bloody meats and buckshot.


The autopsy report is as follows:

EXTERNAL EXAMINATION: the body is that of a thirty-five-year-old female with no distinguishing physical marks or lesions.

INTERNAL EXAMINATION: The autopsy revealed there were three inches of standing water in her lungs.


The smell of the powder they release in a pouf on our faces starts the alchemy, my third favorite scent. While getting our makeup done, Dave and I usually talk about our kids. He was such a kind man and his priorities were clear. His family came first and fucking came second.


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.

The Wrong Sort of Woman

PAPER DARTS SHORT FICTION AWARD WINNER: Men used to be explorers; they used to hike a county over just for ink. Like my favorite Neanderthal with his pat of ocher. He mixed his own paint with animal fat and blew it through hollowed-out bones. He was thinking of posterity—of us—as he tossed hair out of his eyes and inked a row of horses on his wall.

Forecast 2035

They were selling air now? For all of Kai Li’s life, everyone has always worn breath regulators. They filtered out dust and pollution as you inhaled, and your exhaled breath was cycled back into the air. Only Kai Li’s nainai refused to wear one. She was stubborn and would wander the city without even a cheap surgical facemask on days when the smog coated cars in thick, black dust and you couldn’t see past your fingers if you held them out in front of you. “I’ve breathed Chengdu air all my life,” she’d say, “why stop now!”

Tree People

Rosa has five minutes left of lunch and one shoe off when she spots the older man in the window, phone to ear, hand pulling back the curtain. Definitely watching. Shit economy victim in a pressed shirt, the busy boredom. She makes the show of shaking out a pebble from her sandal, purple toenails for the cops. Criminals and transients – bums everywhere else but here – don't get pedicures. She sticks her bare foot back in the strip of parkway the whole while, and sucks and sucks and sucks.

A Shed Is a Shed Is a Shed

We hike through the woods, looking for any section that’s been miraculously cleared for us. Tennessee’s braid bounces up and down. She lifts her boot and the braid swings up and out and with every step it slams against her back.

Notes from the W. Forest

SUBJECT C spends the first morning of observation gathering a collection of caterpillars in a cooking pot. They move stickily through the leftovers from the subjects’ breakfast meal, oatmeal and sugar dinosaur eggs that C prepared from two brown pouches.


I have a four-day week. I pull morning glory on the north, east, south, and west boundary of my property on successive days. On the fourth day, at West, I quit.