"What's the world for you if you can't make it up the way you want."

-Jazz, Toni Morrison


Abecedarian of Loss

Abecedarian of Loss

Apples lay rotting in their cottage garden as she falls asleep upstairs. Sweet
babes torn prematurely from the arms of their mother, now battled
corpses buried in shallow graves. Their
dead flesh and yellow leaves are
eaten by maggots, railroad flies who pass out drunk,
fat with honey fungus and cider. Her husband lights a bonfire,
grabs the wheelbarrow, filling it with the maggoty bodies once ripe like
hers. Whilst upstairs she sleeps and dreams of
ichor draining from her veins and pooling into
jugs of wine as if she were at the last supper. When she wakes, a
knowing looms inside her, gnarly and thick
like the magnolia that grew black and tall last summer.
Moving in a trance, she creeps downstairs to cull it, her fingers are
numb and the blade jerks quickly silver and the cut
opens its mouth to a fast river and her husband kneels, dropping the
peonies he has just picked for her, gentle crimson blossoming at her feet.
Quiet now, they climb the stairs at the back of the house together. She
rests her head against his leonine chest, inhaling his
smoky skin and lets him put her back to bed.
The blinds are drawn and she doesn’t see or smell the bonfire
under the grieving tree, her husband burning its sour vessels of
velvet fruits, his head hung low, wiping his brow, missing the
woman he married, wishing he had noticed sooner, hoping the
X-ray wasn't right. He prays nightly to God, to Christ, to
Yahweh to return his wife to him. Clouds gather above.
Zeus prepares for a storm.


Claire T. Jennings is a writer and photographer living in Los Angeles. She was chosen to perform in the Los Angeles storytelling festival and has been a guest speaker at the University of Santa Barbara Literary Symposium. Her lyric essay “In the Hollow of a Mother” was nominated in 2018 for The Pushcart Prize, The Best of the Net and Best American Essay.

Cover photo by Yuriy Kleymenov on Unsplash

Sawdust

Sawdust

Winter Solstice

Winter Solstice

0