I am a recent graduate of the BFA in Creative Writing program at the University of Maine at Farmington. I am currently living with my boyfriend and cat in Kansas, cause why not? I am currently seeking publication for a memoir manuscript.
Mary and the Monster
Mary, Mary quite scary, how does your writing go? With lightning strikes and cadaver parts, and pretty skulls all in a row. Mary Godwin’s mother made her a writer, but didn’t live long enough to raise her. Mary Wollstonecraft, a girl who had always argued that women were meant for more than the home and confinement bed died there, her very womb poisoning her from the inside out. Mary had been born of death, a fact she never really could forget.
The Marriage of Bonnie Parker
Bonnie wanted to be a writer. She filled her notebooks up with poems she scribbled on the porch to escape the Texas summer heat. Time would drip slow as molasses through her fingers. She was bored, she was broke. She, above all, had the nagging feeling she was meant for so much more.
We watch shows about serial killers in disguise. When you lay your arm against my neck to hold my face in your hands in the dark of our bedroom, you tell me that you are thinking of all the ways you could kill me like this. You test the weight of your elbow against my jugular. You talk about where exactly to apply the pressure and how hard. How beautifully easy it would all be. You smile into the black. I can barely make out the warm whites of your teeth, but I smile too. You trace the seams of my body with a calloused fingertip and tell me all the simple ways that I could come undone at your hand. A slice here, a break there. Sometimes it feels as though you are searching for zippers in places they cannot be. How simple, how easy it would be to unravel me. I want to tell you that I already know, that I've already seen it happen once or twice. That it will happen again when you go away. But for now, I just laugh, tell you what a beautiful mess of mine you are. I pretend that we're both just joking. I pretend that lonely is only a killer we see on TV.
Mr. Addams's Family
In the beginning, there was the woman. Not just any woman, that woman. That woman standing with her hip held akimbo in the parlor of her decaying Victorian mansion. A mask of politeness hung about her face, trying to urge a vacuum cleaner salesman to turn on his heels and retreat back past her front door. A “ruined beauty,” Charlie would call her. The woman with a dress as black as night that hugged every curve of her skeletal figure before pooling down at the floor, reaching like the tentacles of something monstrous. The woman with blood red nails, long enough to pluck your eyeballs from your very skull if she had a mind to. That woman with skin as pale as a tomb. In the beginning, she was standing there, staring up from the page at him, smirking, as though she knew something he never would.
They are sleeping, just sleeping. This is what Llorona would tell herself when she closed her eyes; gaping mouth, black night, too tired to remember to forget. Her babies, her seven angels and all seven of her deadliest sins, had died peaceful, their skin unbroken, their mouths closed against any chance of a scream. They hadn’t struggled when she scooped them from their beds. They had not cried out when she submerged their impossibly small faces in the tub she had bathed them in just hours before. They had known it was not the boogeyman, a bruja coming to drag them away into the night. The skin that grabbed them smelled of vanilla and chili powder, the arms had smelled like their mother and so they snuggled closer to her chest, even as she drowned them. They never had the chance to wake up.
'Red Sparrow,' a Love Story
My mother visits me at college, as she does on occasion, when I call to announce to her that I am once again rebuilding my life from scratch. In years prior, these phone calls have been a scream up from the wreckage some ill-fated love affair or another had left me eyeball-deep in. This time, it is not so. This time, love has left me with a treasure map, and I am simply asking her to teach me to read it, to help me find my way home.
Red Hot Chili Peppers
The girl’s hands smell of vinegar, chilis, something devil-spiced and cauldron-stewed. Her perfume is a country that she will never visit. She has no patience for people who would stoop to call her breakfast spicy, Tabasco dripping from her fingers like the blood of some slain enemy. An Aztec pyramid glints and winks at her from the bottle’s label. Their stone steps once bore witness to a sacrifice more gruesome than her own, and she takes some comfort where she can from this small consolation. The Aztecs believed that their gods had no hearts of their own, that they relied and starved, ravenous and savage, for the tributes of mortals to keep up a pulse at all. The gods did not bleed. The gods are heartless. But then again, the girl learned this young, reminds herself of this as she licks the Tabasco from the cracking of her knuckles, mouth salivating at the blood-orange bagel that looks everything like a heart staring up at her from a dessert plate beside her morning coffee.
#MyWorstDate I’ve never known how to play house. I don’t know how to be the girl that you bring home to Mom. Luckily, Avery didn’t bring me home to meet his mother, his mother met us at a bar. If I had known, I wouldn’t have drank a 40 in the car in the parking lot of Flint Woods. Flint Woods, where I used to run cross country workouts. It looked so different in the dark from the windows of Avery’s car, like something from a horror flick. I found myself listening intently for the scraping of hook handed men against the car door. I heard nothing but the trap music radiating from Avery’s speakers. Avery threw his can out the window. I wondered which runner would end up with it stuck to the bottom of their Mizuno sneakers come tomorrow afternoon.
Growing up, my mother called me Penelope like an afterthought. As if she had come to regret naming me after a dead man. The walls of my apartment are empty now. The mouth of my mailbox glares at me, black hungry, vacant. The week you left, I tore apart a book of coupons that came in the mail, terrified that your first letter, the one bearing your new address, was hidden somewhere between its useless pages. I knew it was too early to expect anything. I checked anyway.
My sheets smell like gun oil. You could never seem to wash the ghost of bullets from your palm lines. Rifle stains spell out a destiny across the map of your hands. I only hope you remember that my name is written there too. I worry about oil spills, the traces your hands leave behind, painting war between my fingers, through my hair. My new perfume is someone else’s battle, a second hand smoke I’m trying not to choke on.
Georgia On My Mind
We drive past trailer parks, through towns with no police departments. We are searching for mountains to climb, as if we won’t have to face enough of our own soon enough. We’re living on borrowed time, your six foot frame origami folded into the driver’s seat is not something the threadbare strings of my heart can afford to get used to. But your shit eating grin is stuck like a pin through my atrium anyway. There’s nothing I can do about it.