that pretty hollow cage

by | Jun 9, 2015 | Fiction, Flash Fiction

If lost, found here.

Every detachable toy piece. Every candy ring and colored, plastic eye-glass. Here, thousands of coins, and here, a dryer-decimated ten-dollar bill. Here, together again, the infamous sock and its long-separated partner, still eyed with brown and orange buttons, stitched lips of red yarn. Still the green felted tongue. Still the shallow, pitted mouth. Still the long nose and jaw shaped by a mother’s fingers, stretches, says, Sleep. Says, Nothing’s there. Says, It’s only me and the night.

Every eyelash blown, every wind-ridden dandelion spore. Every push of breath, every ghosted smoke, jarred. Every remaining candle and stolen wish alight.

Every sperm that failed to inseminate the egg, every egg that failed to absorb the sperm. Every menses as an answer. Every miscarriage who had not grown, who looks like every blood clot removed from every leg and lung, from every shoulder and brainstem, all lined here together, sorted by shape and color. Name them names, see how they sound in open air.

Every hangnail bitten free, every hair pulled loose, caught between palm and mattress, pinched between rigor fingers, follicles fallen invisible to the silence of office walls, every pith of blood squeezed through every scab picked away, hidden by tightened ties, by fastened collars, by brined and glazed cufflinks, nearly popped and flung.

Every broken heart passed and cared for by someone else. Now discarded and waiting, still beating, still scarred and torn, patient in whatever condition they had been left.

Every diluted voice that once fueled purpose, buried so deep within it suffocated before it truly died, its echo surfacing in dreams until time wiped it clear from memory. Always concealed. Always carried, always kept. Sturdy as bones, eroded just the same.

Photo by Jonathan

About The Author

Timston Johnston

Timston Johnston is the fiction editor of Passages North and the founding editor of Little Presque Books. He is a fan of pancakes and a sucker for oranges. He sometimes tweets from @TimstonJohnston.