k a t i e    j e a n    s h i n k l e

Shadowbox

 

We are standing outside and we have our head in our hands and we are crying but only in the ways that get us attention. We are always crying for attention. We are dancing with our feet on his and we are dancing and dancing around the room.


Yesterday we pulled vegetables from the ground and today we are cooking them in big pots on the stoves. We are shelling and shucking and cutting and plowing over.


We are one big vegetable-cooking machine.


Yesterday you bent down at the waist, you kissed our face and chickened out at the lips. You say, I am not attracted to you but maybe when you get a little older. We are waist deep in cornfields, we have tobacco leaves for arms, we are all flap, flap, flapping out of the coop, out of the corn, off the roof, we are flying.


We are waxing and waning, we are golden with copper spines and wings of tobacco, we are vessels of flight, vessels of fancy.


Today we are pulling our teeth out with Fatherís pliers, we want to see if we can make holes in our mouths, we want to see holes. We remember when our teeth were falling out and our teeth would be loose and our Father would tie a string around the doorknob to our bedroom and around our loose tooth and slam slam slam the door until it popped itself out.


So many carrots. So many rutabagas.


At night, we sneak out into the woods and across the stream to the pines where no one can find us. At night, we sneak across the road into the tobacco fields and get lost in the dark and the roads, we chase rats out of the underbrush. We pull vegetables and eat them raw, let the dirt fill the canal holes in our gums, let the seed take root, let the plants grow out of our mouths.

 

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KATIE JEAN SHINKLE's work has appeared or is forthcoming in Eleven Eleven Journal, Sugar House Review, NANO Fiction and dislocate, among others.


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