Picture Show

by Jessica Lanay Moore

 

The picture show screen flickered, giving off sparks. White sheets on a line back on the farm, hung up with pink blotches from birth blood that could not get scrubbed enough, this is what she thought about - as the silvery images crackled themselves before her eyes, so wide open, that they watered. It was the ultimate memory she had of the dawn she decided to walk from Perry into Macon. The Douglass Theatre, flat-faced brick building standing brown and squat as a bird was the first theatre she could enter to see a movie in Macon. Why, that was where the world was - that was why she’d come, walking all that way. She had walked for a day down the compact dirt backroads, through the morning frost crenellated on the open arms of supple and giving peach and pecan trees - long, brown and sensuous in the limb, such as she. She scratched at her scalp through pink styrofoamy rollers, her lips curling in as a square of light from the opening door punctuated the matinee screening. She glanced over her blade thin shoulder, giving a twitch of a look. Her eyes rolled about the theatre, mouth open as long tapering cones of light scurried over the velvet draped walls. A figure, stocky and smelling of sweat dressed in a blue uniform approached and flashed his light into her lap, a red wetness rested on her dress fabric that pulled between her thighs. The gravel-cold voice uttered into the empty theatre, “Ma’am, come with me.”

 

Jessi Lanay, is a poet and a short story writer, the former colors and permeates all writing that I do. In her short stories she prefers to focus on the solitary experiences of women, especially in moments of confusion regarding agency, freedom and at times mental illness. In 2007 and 2008 she was a finalist in the Georgia Writers Festival at Agnes Scott College. She currently lives in the Bronx and works at Poets & Writers.

Daddy's Girl

 

by Candace Habte

 

I loved my mama just fine, but it was daddy that I liked. My daddy was a big man, built like a refrigerator, tall and wide, always smiling with his straight white teeth. Mama had nice teeth too but she barely smiled. And when she did, it wasn’t a teeth showing smile like daddy. Mama was was never satisfied. Daddy would bring her flowers and perfume, and she’d let the flowers die. And she never even went anywhere to put on perfume. Sometimes I’d put it on, right behind the ear like I seen the women on TV do. 

My favorite thing to do with daddy was just to go riding. He’d get into his caddy, one long leg at a time and I’d hop right in the seat next him mama thought I should sit in the back like a baby, but daddy would say “that girl grown enough to ride up front." That’s right, I’d think. I’m not a baby. I’m daddy’s girl and we’re cruising to our next adventure. 

“Alright Peach,” he’d say to me. “Daddy’s gonna have some man time now…night time ain’t no place for a young gal”. I would pout and ask to come anyway even though I knew he wouldn’t budge. “Naw git on now,” he’d say. And that’s when I knew he was getting impatient. 

I imagined daddy going on adventures without me. Maybe card playing at Jack’s, or at the beach bar that wasn’t really on a beach but they called it that anyway. Or maybe with the woman who smelled just like mama’s perfume, and smiled wide and bright like daddy. I wished my mama was more like her, then maybe she could come on our adventures too. 

But then again, daddy never asked her to go anywhere.

 

Candace Habte is a writer whose work has appeared in The Liberator and emPower magazines. She lives in Maryland with her husband and is working on her first novel, The Love That Grew From Concrete. She blogs about her writing (and life) at candacehabte.com.

Never Found

 

by Sarah Lomax

 

He went missing from me tonight.

Never mind that we’re here, bare bodies with black thighs rocking over white hips and bare palms pressing, pressing, pressing down on a bare chest while we bear ourselves in the moment. Never mind that I was clenching, that I let him in me even though my thoughts smother me more than his hands.

Never mind that I let him see me. I had to search for him while I rock my pudgy hips, digging up meaning from his gaze. I ached to speak, but simply breathing makes my throat itch with a thousand nails on the inside. He wasn’t there.

Why? I rock harder still for answers stitched up in silence, press kisses to his lips with my toes pushing hard into the mattress. Every creak makes the air stretch around us until some sort of satisfaction is drawn from a conclusion that I just wasn’t good enough.

Maybe I’d just never be good enough. Maybe that’s why our bodies stretch and depolarize upon intimate shutdown. I sigh, to act satisfied, and he laughs like always, skin skimming over skin while his legs arch over the edge of the bed.

“Hey…”

“Hm?”

He was letting his pants slither up his waistline while we spoke, freckled back facing me. My stomach clenches and my fingers flex, but I went on to ignore intuition.

I’m just crazy.

“I love you.”

“Yeah, sure, sure.”

There’s a wag of his finger and a shake of his head like a classic sitcom but the hesitation was real.

“Hey!”

“Kidding, kidding. I love you too.”

We share one last kiss, though it’s quick and his arms never leave his sides until he has to reach for his shirt and head out the door.

Too bad he was never found.

 

Sarah is a freelance writer and psychology major at Oberlin looking to specialize in clinical psychotherapy. She enjoys swimming, archery, tarot reading, anime/cartoons, writing, reading, and role playing. You can read more of her writing blog, http://www.emptyfingertips.tumblr.com .

 

 

Hot n' Spicy

 

by Juliana Goodman

 

This time he says it’s because of the tacos. Original, not the Hot n’ Spicy my dumb ass knows he likes. My dumb ass.

“I can make you something else.” I can.

“I don’t want anything else.” He lies.

He pulls on his dark gray jeans, then a black V-neck. Will he take the hoodie? That’s what I want to know.  I watch him grab it off the sofa and drape it over his shoulder. That’s how I know he’s not coming back. Not tonight.

“You’re leaving over tacos?” I ask, and then feel stupid because I sound aggressive and he hates that.

“Yeah, something like that. You’re such a bitch.” And then he’s gone out into the hot summer night, my heart stuffed in his back pocket with his wallet and a gold condom.

Stupid stupid stupid! I punch the wall and it hurts me. This is the part where I crawl around on the floor trying to cough up whatever it is inside me that causes this shit. If I can get it out, we can be happy. Or if I could go back in time, pick up everything I didn’t mean to drop. It’s always something so small! And then I get tired of crying and I love myself for a moment. My brown eyes and small hands, my oval breasts and flat stomach. I don’t need him. This shit is weak and he will not step foot back in this house. Not a toe! But then I buckle and think, who the fuck am I kidding?

At 3:30am, a fat girl at Walmart shows me where the Hot n’ Spicy taco seasoning is.

 

Juliana is a senior English major at Western Illinois University. She is the recipient of the 2012 and 2013 Cordell Larner Award in fiction, as well as the 2013 Cordell Larner award in poetry and the 2013 Lois C. Bruner award in Nonfiction.

A David

 

by Juliana Goodman

 

Do you smell that? Do you smell that shit? He just shit in his pull-up. Not a diaper, but a fucking pull-up. He rubs his hands real fast on his Wolverine shirt, makes a popping noise with his mouth, anything to distract me from what we both know has fallen out of his ass.

When I bend over to pull down his shorts, he coughs right in my face. The little fucker. It’s not right to think about your baby like that. The little boy who looks just like you did when you were his age. The one who follows you around like a puppy because he wants to be everything that you are, which actually isn’t shit at this point.

His mother passed out drunk on my couch the first time I met her. A red faced tree with bushy blonde hair and red Doc Martens. She lives thirty minutes away, with her mom and boyfriend, Greg, who thinks we’re still fucking and grinds his teeth when he sees me. This shit is strictly business. I don’t want her. I don’t even want him.

I think about moving back in with my dad, and not telling them where I’m going. She’ll pull up in her raggedy ass Impala, heels and lipstick ready to hit the club, but no one will answer the door. She’ll have to take the little bastard back home, the whole time mumbling “fuck a David, fuck a David, FUCK A DAVID” while she’s doing 60 in a 35.

As I dump the hard turd into the trash can, I finally come to the conclusion that I just might be okay with that.

 

Juliana is a senior English major at Western Illinois University. She is the recipient of the 2012 and 2013 Cordell Larner Award in fiction, as well as the 2013 Cordell Larner award in poetry and the 2013 Lois C. Bruner award in Nonfiction.