Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Food for Thought

           This vignette is meant to be read while this song plays: Los Angeles by Peter Bradley Adams

            A beating, bloody heart throbs in her chest as she sleeps. Her chest rises and falls in her innocent state of slumber as a young boy muffles piercing cries under his pillow two blocks away. His father pulls down his pants and shoves the boy’s head into the pillow, and it’s right on schedule, as always.
            Four blocks away, a mother sits in front of her desk with a candle that reflects light off her chin. She stares at the handwritten paper in front her; a line that says groceries, a line that says rent, a line that says Gracie’s tuition. She bites her tongue as a pregnant tear dwindles over her swollen cheek and she crosses a thick, red stroke through her baby girl’s education.
            Six blocks away, a man lies with his hand over his husband’s chest. He gazes at those beautiful, sleeping eyes and feels love. Real, true, tangible love. But his heart aches with an empty hole that he can’t fill with money, sex, or the bottle of whiskey under the sink.
            Her beating, bloody heart still beats, and beats on as the dark fields of the republic roll on under the night.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

A Smile

I got pregnant nine months and six weeks ago.
You bought the booze, you gave me more than I could handle, and you took away my innocence.
            A few weeks went by, and I told you. You cradled me in your arms and said baby I’ll never leave you.
            You stayed around for a while. You ran your fingers along the creviced stretch marks on my belly. You supported my back with your hand as I stood up. You sat next to me and pressed my stomach until a little foot nudged you. You smiled.
            Eight months went by, and you left.
            My mother and father huddled in the corner whispering drugs, cocaine, meth.     
            My friends gathered in circles whispering scared, I knew it, should’ve known.
            I sat cross-legged on the floor thinking alone, alone, alone.
I went into labor and the person standing next to me squeezing my hand was my mother. You never showed up.
            It’s not like I didn’t try. Texts turned into phone calls which turned into getting in my car and searching the streets. I hovered over my phone staring at the three numbers I dialed and pressed end. I wasn’t going to keep looking for someone who left me alone.
            Now it’s been six weeks and here you are. You’re standing at the edge of my room, my mother and father hovering over you like maggots to rotten meat.
            My baby is wrapped in cloth, cradled in my arms. His cheeks are pink and his lips part to let out a soft huff as his eyes crease and he looks up in childlike wonder.
            I should’ve spit at you. I should’ve shielded my baby with armor. I didn’t know what you were going to do.
            But here you are, inching closer to me, eyes glued to our baby boy.
            You reach out your arms for him, and in that split second I lift the baby from my bosom and hand him over to his father.
            You cradle him in your arms, he looks up at you, and something happens that I never will understand.
            His lips part, showing his gummy mouth, and he smiles for the first time.
            Nausea fills my throat and my toes crinkle under the sheets. Jealousy fills my heart and my knuckles turn white.
            He loves you. More than he loves me.
            And then the words come out of your mouth.
            You look up to me, eyes dull and complacent.
            “I feel nothing for this baby.”
            You give him back, you turn around, and you leave.