Monday, October 8, 2012

“For Fed Ex, Overnight” by Brittany K. Fonte

She’d carried the box, stamped “Fragile!” and “Fleeting!” from the front door to the mailbox, arms straining. She’d set it down, softly, and paced around it. Her watch spoiled her thoughts with screeching: 6:23 am. Dawn.

She was born breech, she was told. The doctor had reached into an abyss, and blood, and piss and turned her: right. Nothing had been right since then. Today, there was no monitor to read her, no one to offer breath or food or even a warm washcloth to wipe the grime off with. This grime had been building. She slept, each night, under the kindness of buildings once occupied, tried, now abandoned for younger buildings with more tenants and bigger closets.

So she’d decided to send it off, to save it from what it could be in a world where that was important and tangible. She’d lulled it into complacency: some singing, hugging, and, when that didn’t work, slugging. From Louisville. From fear that made her ill. From mercy.

It cried out, once. But it knew its birth had foretold all this. It had been traded, bought and paid for, lost and stolen and levied in Thailand for less than what that man got paid in an hour behind a desk. In an air-conditioned room.

She’d filled out the Customs’ form. Under “Contents” she’d written: “Childhood.” Under “Quantity,” “1.” Under “Worth/ U.S. $,” “More.”

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