#14 - Mother, Mother

      "Okay, wait, wait," you're saying. "Check this out."

      Youíre sitting at our mother's kitchen table.

      She's dead and you are trying new ways to make her look alive again. I don't know why, but it seems important to you. You tried make up, but couldn't figure out how it all worked, and so she sits slumped in her chair, like a clown in the drunk tank. The table is littered with concealers and eyeliners.

      I am eating a donut. I am 58% done.

      "Just leave her man, you're making a mess." I say. Talking with your mouth full of donut makes you sound underwater. Makes you sound like you are drowning.

      You're trying to sew her head to the back of the chair. A needle, some thread, blood, a towel? Some sort of fishing line?

      I finish the donut, and walk out of the house onto the front porch. Above the sprawling wheat field, the sky is a calm, unmoving yellow. The air is a hidden photograph of something terrible.

      Out of sight, out of mind.

      I stick my head back in the front door. "Come on you fucking idiot, it's time to go."

      You join me on the porch, the dry, worn floor boards creaking under your weight. Your hands are a bloody mess, but you rest them on your waist anyway, like an experienced butcher about to tell a joke.

      We're staring out over the rippling wheat at the stalled tractor half a row in. Our fatherís body is slumped in the driverís seat.

      "What now?" you ask, even though you already know the answer.

      "Time to go. Far away from here. Find a new mother for a little while."

      "Fuck it, Fuck" you say, sitting down on the top step. "I was just starting to like this one. Canít we just stay here a while? Stay by ourselves? We can take care of ourselves."

      "You say that every time." I reply. "And no, we canít stay, come on, get the gas. We'll burn the house, and the barn. We'll show up coughing and dirty two towns over, someone will take us in, they always do."

      Twenty minutes later the flames are curling out of the top story windows, and we turn and start walking down the dusty driveway, the raw heat of the flames, pressing on our backs.

      I notice your shoes are worn almost through, and make a note to replace them.

©2009 Broken Chair