Take Care of Her – Chapter 1

(Favorite season means new fiction, new horror, new images. Slowly releasing my new short story.)

Chapter 1

Gretchen dragged herself through her apartment. She was sweating, even though she only wore shorts and a tank top—the same ones she put on Friday afternoon when she had come home from work. It was Sunday night. She hadn’t walked outside her door since then. Only inside. Pacing. Losing focus in the bedroom and finding herself in the kitchen, but not remembering how. It had been 47 days. They said, with time, it would start to hurt less. It hadn’t.

Why was it so hot? It was March. She walked to the door, to check the thermostat, but stopped at the couch. She was tired. Standing felt like she was trying to push away the weight of a dump truck with her feet. She needed to sit. So tired. She never made it to the thermostat. She put her hand on the arm of the couch and lowered herself into it. Her glazed eyes scanned the room. Didn’t see much of anything. Until the ribbon. It was wrapped around the base of a purple candle on the coffee table. She’d missed it.

They had gone to a jazz club the day after Valentine’s Day. Not this year, of course. Last year. He had to work on the day. She didn’t think she was a girl that cared about that nonsense. She didn’t want to be. But maybe she was. Gretchen didn’t remember getting off the couch, but she found herself on the floor, the red ribbon in her hand. The club had given those at the door instead of tickets.  They each had one, worn around their wrists until the end of the night. She’d saved hers. How was it still out? She’d packed everything away. Where she wouldn’t have to see it. She didn’t want to see it. Couldn’t. So, she closed her eyes. The ribbon curled in her hand. She heaved herself back onto the couch and fell asleep.

In This Wreck

In this wreck

This mess of


And collision


Trying to put two trains



From different tracks

Freight and passenger

Local and express

Arriving and departing

From this entangled heap

Of melting collapse

We had a ticket



Climbed onboard

And stayed onboard


When the

Course veered

From our plan

Secure in our seats

Until the crash

And now

We’re in the middle of nowhere


When we wanted cities


When we planned

For distraction


Pull away

Call for help

Rebuild from the ground

If the injuries aren’t

Enough to stop us

From leaving the scene

crumple up our tickets/maps

To stop the bleeding

Hide in suitcases

Among the clothes

We chose


To show

To make a memory

Of a tie with a pin

And a dress

With a rip

But those memories

Don’t always keep us warm

We wait

Prying ourselves out

Pushing off beams and

Coughing on dust

Not strong enough

To step away from

The wreck

Not ready

To walk home

Tear It Off

Tear it off

take the skin

Dig out the infection

Hiding in the pockets

It seeps

For protection

Let it ooze

Out to air

Dry, form your scab

Leave off the ointment

that only collaborates

to drench and drown

Your own protection

down in your guts.

Willing defection.

Can’t run yet.


The break will hold your weight.

The clot will staunch the flow.

The healing will come.

Tear it off.

Dance Around

Dance Around

Same steps

Count 1234

Take your space across the floor

Turn back

Count 5678

Position around intake inflate

We’ve learned the choreography

Lines and turns

Cross and counter

Point and yearn

To express this mess

Contract then confess

Drag the trunk of costumes


Away from the gaze

Of the

Why aren’t you watching me?

I didn’t spot,

I scuffed

Raked and padded

Weak arms, rebuffed

Front and back

Down and up

In and out

And we keep



Afraid to make a sound

To miss a beat

Spook the moment

Lose what we found

The flowers at curtain

don’t last long

New prima

you dream of


like new tights

Trade your shoes

but save your taps.

Sounds get better

even evaporated


Fills memories


Or waiting for the next one…