Friday, June 1, 2012
Like everyone, we here at (S)FC long for the warm summer nights, free from responsibility. Therefore, we'll be taking a break until the end of August. Submissions will be back open beginning on September 1st. So get your stories polished and send them after the heart of summer has begun to fade.
The wolf does not announce its presence—it does not answer the spitting of ashes into the air with its name; it does not stretch vowels out like fingernails, like smoke trails curling in on themselves, like the smell of fire on our clothes long after we have gone to bed, long after we fold the blankets under our feet to keep them warm: our eyes in the dark watching the slide latch on the door. This wolf founded this city: licked at its toes, stuck its wet nose into the red clay and kindling, found us there: cold and waiting for the next war to send black soot up our noses. When the wolf died, it became a ghost—it walked through us like an open jaw, tooth glinting. In the story, the wolf swallows the girl whole and gets a knife to the belly for his ambition: a long cut straight up from the navel and to the bottom of his gullet—the girl pulled from the stomach bloody and swimming in everything the wolf has eaten: a small smashed berry, muscles left behind on bare bone. I saw the girl, dripping red, eyes closed, and she reminded me of you—scratches on her arms, a small mouth too delicate to open. I am waiting for the girl that is not you to announce her presence, to wonder what has happened: what became of the wolf she lived inside, that someone must be worried, yes, someone must be worried sick. The wolf, I would tell her, loved you. The wolf who loved you is inside out, eyes to the stars. Your mother, the one with the pearls, threw herself into the woods. This is what I would tell her if she asked. I would tell her about the girl she reminded me of: bread cut into triangles, every song memorized, neck stiff from looking downward. The girl that found a city where there was no city, who kicked glass until it stuck in her soles, who threw her shoes into the tree. The girl who knew what to say to the wolf. The girl who crawled into bed with him while I watched from the trees. The girl who stood in front of the mirror and asked for something to come back to her, to come back whole, never eaten, never clawed to vinegar. I would never tell her that no one gets swallowed whole: that they are bitten and chewed like teeth through skin, like mouths over bark. I would tell her that I found you, you are safe now, I found you. Here is the house where we both will live. Here is where we will make our beds.
Cold day indeed. The clouds all socle, the winds all skirl or some other language plastique and so I mean to say Tuesday and someone kissing a concrete floor at Guantanamo Bay while I sip a latte and drive a hybrid car (Did you know they had to add engine noise to hybrids?—They were silently running people over!) and park the car and punch in for the day and walk over to this large oak tree and climb up, up to my platform (a dictionary nailed to a sturdy branch) and I sit and sit and sit…Yes there goes a 3-legged coyote with a crumpled sonnet in its jaws and yes the sky coughs a bit and smells like laughing leaves, remote control acorns, something anchored in history, OK, move on, supple, undulations, video feed, winter light, etc. And wouldn’t you know it! Wouldn’t you know God appears under the tree, but just off my right shoulder and me right handed—think about it: off right shoulder/me right handed—and there’s no damn way I can get the gun about to that awkward angle, no way I can even aim at God, much less shoot Him in the vital area (imagine a basketball: heart, liver, lungs) without Him noticing, so I sit there quietly—shhhhh—and hope He’ll work his way around the tree, into my shooting lanes (I cut these lanes back in spring, pruning the limbs, stomping down the shrubbery) but it doesn’t happen; nothing happens. Nothing, not even lexical richness or a good voice, like with NPR this morning, the NPR ditty, then some talk of Haitians who today—right now, this very Tuesday—are dying of cholera, whose lives are beyond replevin, very much funky-junked and thorned, yet still I support NPR and Burger King and thank them both for Science Friday and the fast food vegetarian burger (hold the mayo, extra tomato), because I care…right? Why else would I perch so high in this tree? In fact shivering now, and the wind sniffs and snuffles as God subtracts into the morning mist (there’s a reason Appalachian people call Him the Grey Ghost) and I curse His name and climb down the tree and punch out and drive my hybrid home, very pleased with the gas mileage, no doubt, and obviously happy with the prose poem’s unhegemonic sway, but very upset with using an entire packet of hand warmers for nothing, and also it’s Tuesday, God’s favorite day, Tuesday, can’t you see the entire world—a young girl huddled beneath a destroyed Russian-era tank in the Panjshir Valley; a well-dressed drunk fellow passed out on the eighth green of Old St. Andrews; a fourteen year old Border Collie in Oklahoma City with bones stiff as boards–waking up and looking up at whatever they must look upward to, and all of them mouthing quietly: Tuesday.