Image © Ambika Thompson 2017
|by Ellie White||March 3, 2017|
For MarShawn McCarrell
I open the bathroom door at work to find
a forest. Green slime coats the trees,
the rocks, the damp earth. Everything
chirps. At the knotted base of an oak
lays a shallow pit. White steam
and a thick, sulfurous smell rise from it.
I brace my sandals on the tree roots,
position myself over the pit, begin to lift
my long skirt. I feel a sting on my ankle,
look down to see a red cricket. Then,
another. A third. A fourth. All biting.
The alley behind my building breathes
white smoke. Ahead, I hear her shoes
slapping the wet asphalt. Each step
amplified, bouncing between red
brick walls. Come back here!
Give it back! I shout, chasing her.
Soon, only silence, thick as smoke
or blood, fills the alley. She appears
from nothing, a warm ghost
in a green jacket, holding a bright
knife. I stop mid-step. Paralyzed,
mute, panicking. She reaches out,
touches my face. Her fingertips
pry apart my lips. Very nice
she says And so easy to pull.
The tip of the blade fondles
my front teeth. I try, but can’t
remember what she took.
The beach at night
rolls into itself, blue into black.
My mother hates swimming,
yet here she is, emerging from darkness
in a damp, red one-piece.
Her hair long, like it was before
I existed. Come she says.
The water feels so good.
She is right. When I slip in,
I barely feel myself drown.
Ellie White holds an MFA from Old Dominion University. She writes poetry and nonfiction, and is the creator of the online comic strip “Uterus & Ellie.” Her work has appeared in Antiphon Poetry Magazine, Harpur Palate, Tincture and several other journals. Ellie’s chapbook, Requiem for a Doll, was released by ELJ Publications in June 2015. She is a nonfiction editor at Four Ties Literary Review, and the Social Media Editor for Muzzle Magazine. She currently lives near some big rocks and trees outside Charlottesville, Virginia. To see more of Ellie’s work, visit her website elliewhitewrites.com.
Ambika Thompson is a writer, musician, a parent and the fiction/managing editor of Leopardskin & Limes. She’s contributed her own short stories to NPR Berlin, Fanzine, Missing Slate, Plenitude, Litro and Okey-Pankey. But what she really wants is to one day win the Nobel Peace Prize for being a stand-up comedian. She also plays cello and drums and sings with the poetry editor, Jane, in the riot grrl band Razor Cunts.