Harry stands at the window, peering out through the dingy lace curtains. “Harry, are you still up?” His mother appears in the doorway to the living room, cup of tea in hand, curlers in hair, bunny slippers encasing her spidery, gnarled feet. “Don’t you think, love, time for bed, eh? Tomorrow is a big day. Have to be bright and chipper.” She noisily slurps the tea, spilling it down her stained nightgown. Harry pulls back from the window, running his fingers through his tight brown curls.
“Go to bed Ma. It’s late. I’ll be up in a bit.” He begins to chew on his thumbnail, gnawing at the already broken skin. “Ok, love, just don’t stay up too late.” His mother walks towards him, raising her hand to caress his cheek. Harry shrinks back, bumping into the edge of the blue armchair. She stops, hand mid air. “Ok, darling,” she sighs, lowering her arm, “Just remember, not too late. Have to be ready to greet the day!”
Leaning into the worn and splintered banister, she climbs the stairs, spilling tea with each upward movement. Hearing her door close, Harry, thumb bleeding, turns back to the window. Lights are out. Now is the time. There is enough money in the Linley’s house to set him up nicely. Away from all of this. From mother. He would send her money, of course, so that she would still have what she needed. But he would be free. Free with enough money to…
The worm has made its way again, causing Harry to grab and squeeze his head between his head. It’s worse now. Naegleria Fowleri. Harry could barely pronounce it. Had to make the doctor write it down. Said it would kill him cuz he’d let it go too long. The only way was to cut it out. Cut his head open. Harry sees himself on the hospital table, head split open, worms spilling out onto everything. “No, no, no!” He pounds his head, feeling the worm burrow deeper inside his brain.
After a couple of minutes, Harry’s breathing now slower, he releases the clutch of his hands on his head, blinking back tears. Wiping his nose clean with the side of his denim sleeve, he puts on his bomber jacket, patting the side pocket for the shape and reassurance of the gun. Going to the front door, he looks upstairs, flicks off the hall light, and quietly lets himself out.
TWO: AN ERASURE POEM
the cloistered “Dark”
Less was published
during the Three Hummingbirds
garden pop objects and
claim intimate, territorial, personal pronouns
unerring every claim
access to sleep
her euphoric friend
Draws a mirror
The transcriber depicts
Themes of their own time and place
the interior neglect of our poetry
scoffing at torn, small holes
uncovered and noticed!
so am I
Gnomic “I” of Emily
Project on Emily
Positioned as THE female
Her central seclusion and
the damned Master Letters
that notorious infighting
Because she exists
and reflected in our own
Valda is my name. My mother was obsessed with letters and the power of shapes and meanings they held. She first thought to name me “verte” which she saw in
an article from “LIFE” magazine on Paris, but when she realized it meant “green,” she decided not to. But the “V” shape intrigued her, and she liked the attention it
seemed to grab. It reminded her of picture of the Eiffel Tower that was also in the article. Sort of an upside down “V.” “Valda” was, to her, unique. Not “Veronica” or “Victoria” like white girls. “Valda” had spice. A hint of the exotic. Spain. Mexico. Alluring, and intriguing.
But I do wear green, nonetheless. Perhaps my mother sensed something in her womb, because I LOVE green. And I wear it every chance I get. Not just in the spring, but in the dead of winter. I don’t care. Of course, it’s hard to find them, because almost all the clothing out there in the stores is black. Especially these days with everyone trying to be so cool. But green. Well, I like it. No. I love it! Green gives me life. Like I said, it’s not a dull color. It puts life in you. In me. Color give you, gives ME life.
So, that’s why, when I woke up this morning and the sun was out, but it was freezing cold, I put on green. My green, snuggly sweater. I knew it would stand out, and keep me warm.
And that should have been a good start to my day. My motor to rev me up and get me focused. On my writing. But, no, I didn’t. No writing. And that’s what a friend…you know, I was writing each day when what I would mean to do… oh… what my day was. Well, oh, I WAS doing it. Writing. But you know. You break away from… I but actually… it do make… well, when you can write what your day gonna be. It’s positive! Like the color green. Which I wear as much… I wear as often as I can.
But in my writing. I focus on both. Men and women. Men are leaders and I look at it as, in our community… I’m saying this because men are leaders. I look at our community and I don’t see that in our community and I don’t see it. Don’t see that men are good leaders in our community. One that would be setting examples.GOOD examples.
I see… the mental breakdown.
It’s a mental breakdown!
EMILY PHILLIPS has just transplanted her roots from years of being abroad,traversing many lands and magical territories. She has an MFA in Scenic Design from UCLA and an MA in Art & Museum Studies from Georgetown University. She is currently looking, learning, and listening.