BY MEG POKRASS
“Porcupines float in water,” mama says.
She always says shit like this. I have my period and hate the thought of quills and liquid. Everything smells wrong.
Last night, Brett was hating me again. Why he hates me at night, I don’t know. So, it makes me sick. Those bloated nights, the way gravel can move into my mouth.
When he does me it is eight minutes or so of feeling connected to something that fits.
“I am your flutter face,” I said, to stop him from saying anything about my ugly face… or else, to make him say it.
Mama says my shoes suck.
“They are kid’s shoes. How do you expect to get anyone to love you back?” she says.
“Okay, then give me some money and I will own four shoes, instead of two,” I tell her.
She glares at my shoes. She says, “You would not know what the hell to buy. Why would I do this for you?”
One time, she stood there studying us, walking out of school together in a herd.
She said, “you all look like you belong in a stick figure fuck ‘n flip book.”
That was the day she said I was the meatiest, which meant the fattest, which was true. I felt sorry for my friends – appraised like that. They may really be made of paper.
Mama is fat from lack of air swishing past, she moves so slow. She has toothpaste forming like a greenish magic rock on her sweatshirt. Calls it “Mount Rushmore”.
“Someday a plane will land there,” she said once after her third glass.
“Yeah, with twenty snow troopers.”
I am exotic, Brent tells me, “the kind of girl-thing that can eat rubber off a rubber plant,” he says.
I guess he means I make do with what I have and not complaining a lot. I hate that he thinks that, as mama does, as they all seem to.
He says I am the kind that could survive in a desert in the summer barefoot.
“You are the type who would die on the first day,” I said.
“Good for me, then, goodgoodgood.” His laugh, the way he said “good,” meant I had stupid impulses. I felt like washing him away – on hot and then on spin until the fibers of his brain were so dry, they cracked.
He has seen me bend and sway and not spit. He got used to that. It was my own fault.
Too many people fly around my head, taking tiny slices. They don’t admit it – maybe they don’ t know what they are doing. I only know because they are swollen when they are done.
Meg Pokrass is a fiction writer in San Francisco. Her debut collection of flash fiction, DAMN SURE RIGHT, will be published in 2011 by Press 53. She has published over one hundred stories and poems. Meg likes lapsang souchong tea and coffee ice cream.