I have swallowed my voice for 355 days, during which time I swept and dusted, mopped, sewed, cooked, and bore one son. In my silence, I heard the rain fall on the wooden rafters and pressed my finger against the glass of the window to follow a spider on the other side as she wove each thread in her web. Her web hung under the eaves of our window facing the pond. It was there for three or four months, when one day I woke and put on my apron and found she and her nest were gone. The boy who brought our daily milk struck our window with a stick after you berated and boxed his ears for bringing a sour bottle. The crack is still there. When I stare at it too long, I can feel the fissure reflected in my iris. It runs deep and deeper, and when I close my eyes, I can hear the shattering…
Today we walked in the woods together, the ax hefted on my shoulder and the gun on yours. It was bright early and the snowfall was fresh, crunching under our boots. Our breaths came out thick and white, mingled together and disappeared up into the sky.
The gray lady glided in a gown of tempered silver, bobbing like a distant traveler’s lantern in the winter hush of a November dusk. Warriors dropped their swords and shed their ineffective amulets to lay down in the battlefield. They found the cold snow as welcoming as soft pillows and slept. From dreams into death they passed, unknowingly and pleased. The great wizards with their spying glasses trembled from high on the ramparts and the king guarded by his castle watched as she strode unhurriedly, cowing his great army as the drawbridge unwound itself and lowered.
of true love and happy endings
of morality being rewarded
are necessary for me
to face living with a smile
My head throbbed. I sighed and rubbed my temples. It was Friday afternoon at the office, and Allie was boasting again about her cream-colored villa in Tuscany.
“I just expanded the polo grounds!” Allie giggled, coquettishly covering her mouth.
I popped an aspirin into my mouth as the new office girls oohed and fawned over her. Among the gray uniforms, Allie stood out at the water cooler. Her fingernails were manicured blood orange today, and they fluttered in circles around the new medal pinned to her breast pocket. Derision burned in my stomach as they skated around the inverted crescent, but I bit my lower lip and went back to my typing. I cracked my knuckles, exhaling in relief as I flexed my out-flung elbows; they no longer touched the walls.
1. Well-founded is my ire against thee and mightily has it grown. The waters of mistrust and betrayal have nursed it heartily and whispered passions into its ears. A suckling babe drew its first breaths to spite you and dreamed early of inchoate vengeance.
2. She of silver hair and dainty feet flew in fury, raking her tresses of fire before the conquering king. She cursed him with the mad patter of her heels, but he, foolish and entranced, brought the dancer to his bed not knowing she was the chieftain’s daughter. There, her passion killed him.
3. Motionless, he stood before her, a hulking form around which darkness amassed. A passing car threw errant light, orange through the window blinds. She shivered, but didn’t dare pull the sheet to cover herself. She felt as if her slightest movement could provoke the passion of a beast.
Against bilious winds, the triangular sail of stark ebony rode waves of change. The sandaled people on the beach pointed, ladies whispered behind their long sleeves of silk, and the fishermen who had just finished mooring their boats turned their astonished faces again towards the sea. A messenger from the nearest garrison rode on the fleetest horse to tell the governor all that they feared: Death had come to their shores.