The Field

Thank you Twister Sister Literary Magazine for publishing The Field. This is my first attempt at Science Fiction and was inspired by Henri Rousseau’s The Football Players, now part of the Guggenheim’s permanent collection. This piece is dark, but for those who’ve read Wrapped in Color and Light, you already know I like to lean in that direction.


The Field

I was pulled outta my cell this morning and thrown into a shitty, white coaster. You know, those hover pods they stopped making, like, twenty years ago. Next thing I know, I’m dumped in this field covered in plastic, green shit that crunches under my feet. I think it’s supposed to be grass, though I doubt anyone’s felt that stuff in decades or what I’m standing on is anything close to the real thing.

The field is bordered by trees with long roots that crawl upon the ground and tiger-orange leaves that glow from the lights inside them. The stripes, however, are saved for me. Black on yellow like a god-damn bee, or whatever those fuckers were called.

I feel like I’m standing in an ancient football field, which I’ve seen somewhere before, though I can’t remember where. Fucking memory. Can barely remember shit anymore, which makes me bat-shit-crazy. When I can’t recall a face, a fact, or something that’s happened, I bang my head with my hand until it comes to me. These days, I can bang so much I black out and wake on the floor as confused as ever. The officers on the other side of the bars laugh because they still have their banks—a small chip that enhances our memories — but I don’t.

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The Wall

It’s summer, and between work, building a house, and two children on summer vacation, writing fiction has been tough. I’m definitely looking forward to the start of school when stricter schedules allow for more writing time. In the meantime, I thought I’d post an excerpt from a short story I have in the queue. It’s inspired by Peter Doig’s Lapeyrouse Wall, a 2004 oil on canvas currently at the Museum of Modern Art. I was drawn to this painting’s soft edges and the juxtaposition between the pink umbrella and the top of a factory in the background. And once I read about the cemetery, I fell deeper in love and knew I wanted to write a short story about the man and his connection with the wall. Enjoy!

The Wall (an excerpt)

The loneliness in my life is so great, it rides on the slow ticks of a clock.

I’ve tried to bring people into my life but blending into this world has always proved disappointing. So, I stopped. Don’t worry, I’m accustomed to my solitude, and have, at times, considered it a fine thing.

Today is Monday, and I’m on a bus pulling into the Port of Spain station in Trinidad. I will walk six blocks to my work at Republic Bank, where I will talk with people for the first time since Friday.

My walk takes me past the Lapeyrouse Cemetery, Trinidad’s city of the dead. It has streets, alleys, and residents with fixed addresses—rich, poor, Chinese, French, British, and everyone else in between.

Since the first bodies were buried in the 18th century, hundreds of corpses have been exhumed by robbers. A wall was erected around the cemetery to keep the vandals out. But, when I look at the wall, with its crumbling layers of cement and faded paint, I wonder if it also keeps the spirits in.

The wall is nearly as tall as I am. I can see over it only when I stand on my toes. I peek inside and hear the clapping and chanting of the Shouters in one direction and the murmur of the Catholics working at their beads in the other. I also smell flowers mixed with incense and firecracker smoke, which means the Chinese are here, too.

I relax back onto my feet and continue along the block. I’ve walked several feet when a woman’s voice whispers in my ear, and I swear I feel her lips brush my lobe.

“Every time ah pass, you look at me. Every time ah pass, you look at me.”

I spin around, my skin tingling, my hand landing on my chest.

“Ah gonna tell mah mama do’ sen me down dey. You better tell yo’ mama do’ sen yo’ down here. Every time ah pass, you smile at me. Every time ah pass, you smile at me.”

As she sings, purple, green, and blue notes swirl around me, wispy things like butterflies. Between them, I weave my loneliness, until it is tied in knots and I am no longer standing alone.

The Healer is Published!

Thank you, Scarlet Leaf Review for publishing my short story, The Healer. I am so grateful!

The Healer

The wash room is covered in tile. The complete whiteness makes me dizzy, and I can’t tell where the ceiling meets the wall or the wall meets the floor. I wish there was some differentiation in color, but in this hospital, where the most desperate cases are sent, total disinfection is a must. White is not affected by bleach, but I am. My eyes water and my nose stings.

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The River

Combining my two loves…

guglielmi_the_riverO. Louis Guglielmi (1906-1956)
The River, 1942
Oil on Canvas
Location: The Art Institute of Chicago
Photo Credit: The Art Institute of Chicago

I wait on the edge and shield my eyes. My skin feels as though I have walked through rain. I find a tissue buried on the bottom of my purse. Cherry-red lipstick marks one side, and I’m careful not to press too hard when I wipe my face.

A small girl in a green jumpsuit hangs on her mother. “Why must it always come on the hottest day?”

Her mother speaks between long, drawn out breaths. “Because feeling as though something is pressing on your back while your feet are buried in the ground stops you from running off and making a scene.”

The woman standing to my left nods church-like and whispers, “Amen,” because that was a pretty good way to put it.

I try to grip the railing, but my hands slip and my vision flashes black. I’m convinced I won’t make it when a cloud of cool air drapes over me. I pull it tight around my shoulders, stand up straight, and peer into the water.

The ripples come first followed by a beast the size of a whale. I crane my neck to see its eyes. Before I do, it fans into long strips of celestial, denim, and baby blue. It no longer resembles an animal; just thousands of leaves floating on the sea.

The changes are subtle. My back straightens, my skin tightens, and my gray hairs turn chestnut brown. Some years, I feel my heart beat stronger, though I worry that might be in my head. Today, I see better, which is new.

The shades of blue swim on, leaving me the same age I was a year ago, and a year before that, and twenty years before that. It’s strange to think I look the same as I did the first time it came by.

Now, only a few of us come. Staying young had gotten old for most of the others.

The mother picks up her daughter, grinning.

“Can I stay home next year?” asks the girl. “It’s always too hot.”

“When you’re older,” her mother replies before nodding to me and carrying the child away.