Alysia Angel, 2012 Writers Retreat Fellow in Fiction

Alysia Angel, 2012 Writers Retreat Fellow in Fiction



whether to announce our last reader of the evening my crush and daddy fan angel [Applause] Mohican mandarins for my 16th birthday memo came to visit me all the way in Waco Texas where children who no one wanted lived she was uncomfortable with me with the outside of her house she pulled on her oversized purple hand-painted t-shirt her summer feet toughened like precious hoods from the garden barefoot bravery after much fussing over how I look to her what I needed to do for her how much I scared her she thrust in a tiny gold ring into my hand I held it in front of me to get a good look at the thing dating to you for sure tiny heart tiny diamond it's real it's real with pride and something else I'll put it on girl it fit perfectly sized 5.5 left hand it was your mama's looking away I gave it to her on her 16th birthday the room became hot smoking the curtains as my finger began to melt as it burned into my flesh I turned my mouth up and stapled it into a smile with love and it's so pretty we should be and it's so fun yes mo the burning begin to make its way of my sternum and into throat memo left quickly embarrassed by our affections I hooked her one-armed the other arm on fire by then flesh slowly falling off of my bone the ring remained debutante modesty southern grace inferno firm em all the ring was a replacement for my mother the ring was her sore hard-working feet sore hard one heart sword garden hands when I was 36 I sold it at a pawn shop bought myself a stake at a restaurant I can't afford 20 years of longing and sorrow never tasted better than medium-rare red wine glaze chocolate cake the moon on the walk home to freedom [Applause] home is where the songbird waits while you were shaking Grogan's twitching eyes like moss lime trees clouded by so many stranger feet pacing scuffs into elderly floors our peaches were molding I saw their alien greeting bottoms glaring at me from those shiny shells the shelves you always tidy after my cyclone carefully arranging things back into your army roads I did nothing to help those poor poor peaches because I didn't have the heart to watch them tumble sickly one by one into the compost for our spring garden while you were sleeping with the tube down your throat schools of badges swimming in my home I sent nervously waiting a man with a withered leg hollering I love my wife so much y'all I mean even the that comes out of her ass I love it as he backed himself around a compact woman who averted her eyes a fat baby crying half-heartedly in her slack arms while you were real down long hallways into a cool dark cave guarded by a tired girl no older than 24 I practiced telepathy so much I gave myself a headache the peaches are still on the shelves but I'm just going to let them rot because when you notice them I'll know everything is just fine

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