w i l l i a m    v a n d e n b e r g

You Lose Six Hands in Three Years

 

The box is a door. Please remember that.


Listen. After you were born our meaning slowly ruptured. I'm not saying it was your fault, although there is some evidence.


You were born in Spain. A metal railing stood outside the apartment you first lived in. Past that railing was the sea. Everyone lived in one room. You were in the room with them, so Iím pretty sure you were everyone. Your hands: two were rough, two were soft, two were paper, and two hands had just been born.


The word bird used to mean a thing that flew and had feathers. Then you made it into a black rock thrown through the air. Then we drained it of meaning and waited for it to be filled. It lay immobilized on the stained carpet. We watched it. The sun bleached across the word and the word inhaled.


When you turned three I put you in a box. That was the last I saw of you. The sun was empty and the doors were gone. Everything drew breath and the world festered with carpet; I think the carpet grew everywhere. The birds were rocks thrown through the air. Six of your hands were cut off at the wrist—only your tiny set remained.


The wrists will be the least of your problems.

 

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WILLIAM VANDENBERG's chapbook of stories, Bodies and Homes, is forthcoming from Caketrain Press. His work has appeared in Juked, Pear Noir, Hobart Web, and others. He lives in Denver, Colorado with his wife and their unfathomable collection of dice.


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