Knees pump the midnight swings until summer knocks a tooth to the
asphalt. From there she hops the rails with girls, huddles beneath their
windbreakers; breathes their tangled hair, girls like Isabel and Dixie and
Anais, tossing cans at commuter trains as they leave the station.
In health class the slide projector clicks. Vas deferens. Epididymis. With a safety pin and Bic pen she carves names recklessly into her palm until the nurse takes her from them and tells her to straighten out.
College, macrobiotics, acupuncture. Yoga. Her limbs harden like
liver left on the stove. With her sack of wilted greens she worms around a
family that clogs the whole sidewalk. Round as Boteros. Holding hands.
At lunch her mother wears progressive lenses. Practical, her mother
says, spreading her napkin. The busboy delivers bread. Only now on top of everything she’s dizzy.
“Shirley Pulkin tells me her daughter – Annabel? – met someone
through online dating.”
Her father shuts his menu, says the eyes will adjust.
He sees her this way that she isn't. Vision is one thing. They are
past correction. She is his snowflake inside a kaleidoscope; really, she is a
spill of mixed beads.
He wants the light on. She begs for a blindfold. For how long, now?
He shakes her like a globe then waits for some truth to settle. Long, graceful
neck? She never was a dancer. Red curls — Victorian — are dyed, permed. Skin he could pour in crystal she cuts and bleeds, a reminder she's alive while she is
Afterward he says: stay, don't move, lie here, and she does; she lies on him like a keepsake until their bodies itch.
Sara Lippmann’s work has appeared in or is forthcoming from Rick Magazine,
Potomac Review, Word Riot, Fiction Circus, Slice, Carve, Fourth Genre,
LITnIMAGE, NANO Fiction, Fiction at Work and elsewhere.