Issue #5 November 2015
Detail from Evening Wind by Tim Frisch

Anna Goodson

We made the constellations

It was Tuesday when Johnnie caught the schoolyard tom, yowling like a scorned god. It was the same year we traded myths like marbles, like pebbles and carrots. First we took its ears off and buried them in the school garden. Then we skinned it carefully with cafeteria sporks and knives, left its pomegranate-red carcass on the blacktop. Our mothers thought the boys had skinned their knees, thought the girls had begun to bleed. That night the sky cracked open and the cat scattered, became so many seeds – small droplets of light in the sky – we lost our voices for months. We try to forget, but the school garden still only sprouts narcissus. When we look into those orange mouths, we find we can’t forget the day after, the flies like black cherries, the intestines spread like coarse rope; but mostly we can’t forget the pools of blood, and how when we looked into them we only saw ourselves, backwards, gleaming.

Road Trip

As a child I was afraid of spontaneous human combustion,
bought magazines to bolster the fear,
paranormal headlines – people in other people’s
bodies, people on fire in their own –
feeling it over and over the way
            the first bird we saw was under
the car, hanging out of the tire like a pale shirt
ripped off at great speed,
            and the second a pile of feathers,
which I stepped on. Over and over as I pointed out
the torso of a young girl barely clothed, stealing faces
from the ads of women wearing
lingerie – slightly surprised, slightly sun-stroked.
            And the third a perfect model of a small turkey,
bald and blue-veined, as we parted the heat to push
further towards the motel and eventually
towards the sex that was quite painful, like a poorly executed
rendition of daily life. Towards the look
running resigned and hot from
our faces and the white-capped anger
underpinning everything,
            to the fourth and at that point almost
portentous spread of feathers underfoot, grey
but corpseless, as we stepped around it yet again
to continue moving forth into the heat, lacking
a sun-source, lacking a reason to change the way
we felt, and everything spread red and brilliant
            as if something had been spilt,
as if something more was inside us
than the constant feeling of everyday,
as if this love we’d cobbled together
could become something
that would eventually learn to move on its own.