In her bedroom, she places her voice in the music box given to her at a young age by a family friend, a groom she had been offered to in marriage, twenty years her senior, who will die in his sleep tonight with a chicken bone wedged in his esophagus. She brushes her hair, unravels the snarls, slips from room to room, from thought to thought, picking up the stored pieces of herself as she opens her mouth, fills it with broth. A pot of meat. A bowl next to her waiting with the splintered bones of an animal she had raised, tended to in the coop out back, stroked its feathers, whispering free me to a bird who could not fly.
They stroll about the house, gesturing where they’d put the couch, the bed, the kitchen table, the cave where he’ll hide during her ovulation, a catcall turning into a scream, a silence turning into a home that will become a house again for sale: three bedrooms, a nursery, plenty of space to start a family.
Jesus of Suburbia
In his garage, the man works on the excess of Christmas, bending metal into gingerbread shapes and men with long beards and big bellies, adorning them with colored lights. Day and night, he toils and forges, creating a world of make-believe, birthing a village of toy soldiers who will turn on themselves, whispering lies they’ll believe in the retelling, repetition making them dull, dimming their colorful lights until their smiles grow dark and ugly.
Maple and Birch
On the corner of Maple and Birch, the trees speak to one another in the soil as children step on their root sprawl, hang from their branches, snap off small twigs to use as swords until the bus arrives and takes them to school where their words become weapons, whittled into blades, allowed in their invisibility. And the trees exhale as they leave, soften and sigh, cradling the ones who stay behind, hidden in the nest of foliage, palming their bark where others have made scars of their names, a ring of sharpened rocks around them pointing up, up, up.
Sabrina Hicks lives in Arizona. Her work has appeared in Milk Candy Review, Cheap Pop, Split Lip, Atlas + Alice, Lost Balloon, Matchbook, Barren Magazine, Wigleaf Top 50, and other publications. More of her work can be found at sabrinahicks.com.
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