She kissed the lip of every teacup
in the cupboard,
tasting each daybreak
born on mismatched posies.
Touched every spoon
with damp fingertips,
leaving only the impression of loss.
Whispered into the pockets of overcoats,
a story about cold days
Asked the spider
behind the bathroom door
to remember to pay the paperboy.
Finally, she touched the corner
of the tattered Afghan throw.
The one with the intricate pattern of squares
holding everything together.
Then she gently pulled a single thread
and began the process
of unraveling every stitch
He is dead now. In a small beige room, I realize my hands are empty. A stranger in a navy blue suit is talking about Jesus. I do not remember where I left my cup of coffee but I am told that Jesus is nearby. The man in the suit suggests we pray for comfort. Asking Jesus for comfort feels like asking my abuser to hug me after he has punched me in the gut. I cannot find my coffee cup but I wish I could. An empty cup would be so much easier to hold than the weight of this.
Learning to Write
I am learning to write all the words I have carried around inside me. This requires a gentler touch than I am used to. Noisy is easy, writing is harder. Each time I intend to write, produce a snapshot of a thing that isn’t me, every landscape becomes a self-portrait. Without me, I can not anchor my words to a story. My writing is still in its infancy. A larvae of the animal it will become. Until it has grown to its full potential, I offer each word as a gift, a prayer, an invitation and I leave myself, willingly, caught up in the meaty tissue at the center of every story.
The Happy Hour Wolf
Leaning in heavily
ham-fisting his highball like a vice
he drops his wilted butt on the floor between us.
Smoke oozing from between his pointy teeth
he licks his juicy bourbon mustache
and smiles hungrily.
“How about a bite to eat?” he whispers into his highball
I am sure he means me.
That Kind of Girl
I wish I was the kind of girl who’d taken a left instead of a right and ended up in a different town. Perhaps if I was another kind of girl, I’d meet you in a bar and I’d tell you that I thought you were pretty, even though I meant you were handsome. I might let you buy me a drink. I might kiss you in the bathroom, pressed against the stall. If I was that girl, I’d write my name in sharpie on your hand, only this time, you’d call.
Suzanne Lea is a southern writer with a fondness for dark chocolate and swear words. She has been published in numerous online journals and magazines, as well as the print anthology, Crooked Letter i: Coming out in the South.
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