Why not red? To match her little leather book embossed with a dappled kestrel? To match the wilted poppy twisted in her deep blue hair?
She has seen the piles of dolls crowded in roped-together boats, drifting listlessly, seasick and heartsick, anxious as cats. They bleed because now they have blood. The wind eats their foreheads and painted pink smiles. They are the opposite of pure. Salt in their eyes makes them suffer. Their bright kimonos, many-layered, pinch and steal their breath. When they can’t stand the smell, they cast their peach blossoms and rice cakes into the sea. Who would want these dolls now?They are still too precious to touch.
The weight of any shoe fits the mermaid’s palm like a clam. Rows of black silk slippers gaze at her like otter eyes.
Kathleen McGookey’s most recent book is Stay (Press 53). Her book Heart in a Jar is forthcoming from White Pine Press in Spring 2017. Her work has appeared in journals including Crazyhorse, Denver Quarterly, Epoch, Field, Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, and Quarterly West. She has received grants from the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Sustainable Arts Foundation.
FLASH GLASS: A MONTHLY PUBLICATION OF FLASH FICTION, PROSE POETRY, & MICRO ESSAYS