After He Failed to Wake Up
She slept with the sock, made of softest, bluest cotton, small enough to slide on her thumb. On the 30th day, her husband unfurled her fingers. Enough, he said, and took the sock but not before she pressed it to her face, already missing the powder smell.
It’s True What They Say
When I open my eyes and look down, I see: what a perfect shot, the arrow stuck in the side of my neck, a fountain of blood sinking the snow like maple sap, then Dave barrels through the underbrush, his breath heaving white clouds, and he drops to his knees, shit, shit, shit, oh shit, and he fumbles in his camo vest for his cell and I laugh—you idiot, you know you can’t get a fucking signal this side of the mountain—but he jabs at the buttons anyway, and Pa floats beside me, grasps my fingers, odd because he’s never held my hand—he died before I was born—and he says with his eyes, it’s time to go; below us, the phone glints in the snow, Dave shrinks to a pinprick, this brilliant heat fills me, and I turn to Pa and say, hey, it’s true what they say on those TV shows, those people who die and come back, and when he smiles, I know, but it’s okay, this peace falls over me, a kind of grace I feel after I mow the hayfield all sweaty and happy, and I wait for the tug, the one that will yank me back to Dave blubbering over me in the cold bloody snow, I wait and wait.
Linda Simoni-Wastila writes from Baltimore, where she also professes, mothers, and gives a damn. You can find her stuff at Smokelong Quarterly, Monkeybicycle, The Sun, Nanoism, and other fine places.
As always, your words are a pleasure even when they leave you feeling discomforted.
Great stories as usual. Is she mourning the loss of the one who failed to wake up? So curious!
Both of these are terrific, but that first one really tears at the heart. Well done, Linda.
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