This poem/micro story was accepted in Metro Polarity’s 2018 collection, Bad User Agreement, where my story is found alongside Rasheedah Phillips, Alex Smith, Monk and other fantastical scifi and speculative fiction writers experiencing bad user agreements.
One Yellow. One Blue.
I work in a gated community for a
Gates block the invasive slug outbreak on 23rd street. Among other things.
Their daughter is a kindergartener. One with snot perpetually dripping from her nose.
You know the one.
If you don't
it was you.
A worm crawls out of the loam. The red chalk
already rubbed to a nub in concrete pores.
Her blue eyes reflect the sun. Make me squint.
She sits up and stares toward the road that leads to this community's park.
You see that lady?
I turn. Another black nanny.
Another pale head with a blonde tuff peeping over the stroller. A pre-plucked turnip.
What about her?
Her finger jabs
between my third and fourth rib. I shiver.
This isn't you. This is someone dressed up as you!
Her eyes chomp and spit through their hairlike rows of teeth. Her mouth blinks.
The walls are oozing again! Clean it up! She smacks. The roof of her pink mouth
a peanut butter embryo.
It’s true. The kitchen oozes. Gates can’t stop symptoms.
I grab a towel. A knife sleeping beneath
slices my palm. She shrieks in delight. There’s no blood.
Today she spreads her belongings on the schoolbus. Leaves them for me to
pick. There’s jelly on the bottom of these seats. A black-purple drip. A hiss.
The busdriver only looks at me through his rearview mirror.
Our gaze refuses to hold
our castrated brown eyes.
An unseen cawing from the manicured trees.
A bright bright bright.
I know what sun is. Peering through smears of clouds.
A straining peach sunset coming earlier and earlier.
This is not that.
This is violent. Brilliant. But violent.
I lock myself in the bathroom. She kicks the door
The lock threatens to submit.
I can hear her fists shake.
Standing on the toilet I can look through the small window.
Three stories down
the community’s security
guards pass each other on their rounds.
Drone wasps in the black skin and yellow vests.
Appease the fire
And they walk on.
Two women cross a street.
Thick Baradostian accents.
Same jaunty sway like buckets of water on a diesel truck.
Swashing never spilling. Surrounded by revving and grunts.
One has an infant stroller.
The other a waddling toddler.
Both redheaded but not
The toddler trips on a loose brick.
Her wail easily reaching
How gingerly she holds child.
her brown fingers against a ripped
pink and white knee.
This child is
from three quarts of milk.
I snicker at the torn stockings.
Her peach head snaps up into
I fall back off the toilet and hit my head on the
The ceiling starts to drip.
I plug it up with toilet paper.
She’s still kicking.
Her screams are leaking under the door
like cold piss.
She’s not my child. She’s never my child.
The drips come faster.
They have dissolved the toilet paper.
The rain now nibbling at my sweater
my good shoes
I am soaked but not wet.
coagulating in my ears and armpits.
Nesting and making love to my sweat.
She keeps screaming now. I’m screaming.
Our frequencies grating
slapping one another.
I throw open the door
ready to do
I made this for you!
She’s holding up a drawing
composed in crayon.
Two figures holding hands.
Her face is pale yet calm. Her voice contains no
strain. Only her chest heaves slightly. Her
blonde bangs sweat slicked on her forehead.
I slide down on the bathroom tile
my knees folding beneath me.
The slime has stop raining but
resides quivering on my skin
painting me a translucent green.
I slump forward and take the paper from her hands.
The slime licking my wrists crawls forward.
It’s eating again
dissolving the drawing and my fingernails.
All of us, sighing.
Holding back coughs.
We love our children, we do.
We love our children.