By Brandi Wells.
The bottoms of his feet are dry and crackled, like paper. Almost sharp curly black hair on the top of his feet. On one side, it’s all smooth. I run a finger over his dry skin. He pulls his feet away. Says stop. He watches television and I lay belly down on his back. I loop my arms through his. “Am I crushing you?” I ask. “You like it,” I tell him. His belt rubs a raw spot into his side. He’s embarrassed of the scab. The studs on his belt rub against my hip bone. Sometimes at night he pulls me to see if I’ll roll over onto him. Later he snores and I tell him not yet, that I’m still awake. He snores again. I try to push him to his side of the bed. My hand is stuck between him and the mattress. He rolls over onto my pillow. “No,” he tells me. I hear an ambulance go by and see the flashing red lights shine through the blinds and reflect in the mirror. I kiss him and he rolls away.
We slow jog halfway around the .68 mile track and then walk. His windbreaker pants make a swishing sound. He tries on running shoes but says they cost too much. We walk backwards around the track. Jog walk jog walk jog walk. My hands go numb. I flex my fingers and stretch my hands over my head. The air is cold. He wears black socks that I can’t see when his shoes are on. His feet land heavy on the ground and he swings his arms. I ignore the tobacco smell of his shirt. His hands balled into fists. I look at him. His glasses slip and he takes them off, holds them in one hand.
He chops onions on a cutting board that’s no bigger than his hand. I heard that if you put a metal spoon in your mouth, your eyes won’t water. I wrap my arms around his stomach. His black bandana is pulled over his mouth and nose. The onions sizzle when they hit the pan. Incites hunger. He dices green peppers and the seeds splatter across the counter. My eyes water.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Brandi Wells has poems in The Foliate Oak, Apocryphal Text, Slab, Blaze Vox and other journals. She sometimes blogs here.
First published in 3:AM Magazine: Friday, February 13th, 2009.