THE OCEAN WOULD KILL ANYONE
"The sea dies on a Thursday in the middle of the night and I am the first to know. The light above, that blinking beam warning ships, went out while I was sleeping. Some malfunction, and in the dark, the ocean disappeared. No one witnessed the moment, except, maybe, the sky. Though, with all those clouds and all those stars, I had my doubts. No, the sky had its eyes closed while the ocean met its end much the same way I did..."
I'LL TAKE THE WOUNDS
"My father brought home a Cornish Cross Chicken the Friday before Christmas. He didn’t ask my mother if she wanted to raise a chicken. He was not a man who asked his wife anything. Sometimes, I wondered if he spoke to her at all. The murmuring behind their door after dark was that of the television. The people on screen did the talking for them..."
WE FLOAT ALONE
"My mother plants Blazing Stars that bloom in late summer. She wants butterflies. She wants four feet of flowers. She wants not to live in this apartment with a balcony overlooking a public pool. She wants love to mean kindness. She does not get what she wants.. "
"The jeering spilled out of the warehouse, vibrating through the street where the streetlights slept and the cars beneath them lay covered with sheets of white to stop the burning of the sun by day. Down the street, it met me head-on, the sound of the boys inside. That’s how I found them. I had been walking through the neighborhood across from mine, staring at the stars and trying to outpace the yelling reaching its long fingers at me from my own home’s open windows..."
GHOST OF MY HOPE
"The trees told me there was no way out of this numb place. While I had been looking down, heavy with that strange sadness that had settled all those months ago, the forest outside had taken to growing. We were opposites, I suppose. As my household shrank, and I continued to shrink, with their branches and their greenery, the trees protested. They continued to, silently. They grow, they reach, they tangle until the paths I once walked, a warm hand in my hand, were wiped clean..."
"My husband owns a museum of body parts, and none of them are mine. We live above the museum. His side of the bed is empty more hours than it isn’t. Once, I snuck down to find him weeping, on his knees, in front of a hand. Sacrificed for love, he said. All of them were. They were the ultimate I love you, my husband said in each tour he gave. All of these people loved someone so much they were willing to kill parts of themselves to prove it...”
PRESSING ON BRUISES
"You are staring at your pool when the letter arrives. It is fall and the mail truck’s brakes squeak as it leaves. You do not know how you know there is a letter waiting, but your stomach hurts with the knowledge. You cannot stop thinking it once you’ve begun. You put on your shoes and you fetch the mail and you think about your pool and how letters do not get sent to the bottom of the water..."
WHEN THE SAND RUNS OUT
"My mother was a glassblower until the sand ran out. Then, she was dead. She would not have preferred to live in this world where she could not make beautiful things. A world where the search for sand was what unearthed the virus that wiped half the population out.... "
"Every day the people who pretend to like me get worse at it, and by people, I mean my mother.
"My mother is a glass-blower and makes statues of me every Friday, and every Friday they are more grotesque. My mouth sharpening, my eyes duller and duller each time..."
"I did not want to make an omelet.
I suppose I would if the omelet was for me. But the omelets I made were full of bacon and sausage, tomatoes and onions, all my least favorite foods. As I cracked each egg, I listened for my brothers and heard nothing. Still, that did not mean Noah was not there, watching me. Key was easier to hear in his heaviness, but he never came down until he knew breakfast was ready and he always knew when it was ready."
WHEN SATURN DROWNS
"I never told anyone this, but I’ll tell you. I was hunched over the stiff cotton sheets of my grandfather’s hospital bed trying not to tug and tangle on the tubes spider-webbing his body when he took my hand. It was calloused from the wear-and-tear he had lived into them, but there was far less of his hands than before, mostly skeleton now..."