by David M Wallace
Little Amy picked up the head from where it lay in the dust near the axe. It was as soft and weightless as a marigold.
“Come back! I’ll fix you!” she cried, running in frantic circles.
Feathers flew everywhere.
I sleep on a cot and the cat can’t see, cross-eyed from catnip. He misses his box, sprays my bed, and showers my daughter’s blankie. The laundromat is across 12th, so I lug the week’s clothes on my back. My daughter follows, sucks her fingers, wanders out into traffic. I bite through my tongue; I taste blood. Our underwear strewn across Vermont. The bow of the violin doesn’t care, not one bit. The hand of the clock kills again and again, just like that.
Elaine hadn’t meant to start reading, but she’d found a book in the attic, crammed into one of her bins. Sitting on her knees, she’d uncreased the cover and opened it. She would read until she remembered the plot.
That had been hours ago. Book finished, Elaine settled against the plastic bin. Dust spindled in the light. Mom would be in Sarasota by Christmas. Elaine would have to fly down. That seemed the task of someone else. Someone older. A real adult.
In the attic light, the cover of the book shone. What else would she forget, over time?