Blitz, Magical Thinking

By Mureall Hebert

Blitz

Mother strung blackout curtains
to the ceiling using clothespins and duct tape
     and duct tape
          and safety pins
               and nicotine stains
          spit up
          balled up
          up chucked
and sticky.
“It’s a blitz!” she wailed under the strobe light
     looking [almost] beautiful
          and limber
               and wild
                    and free.
Her tube top caught on the
               corner
of her chest. Heart-beat,
     rib-thump,
     rump-grind,
     silky, slick
     skin.
Her wine came in a box
and showered from her lips
     a fine bouquet: 1988, San Jose
     plucked from a flea-market bin.
Pills and wine and music and pills
     and
wine and music and pills
     and
why not,
     why else,
          and who the hell cares?
I could sell you for a dime
     or more wine
if you’d just stand still     long enough     for me to catch you.
But no!
     I lodged myself
in a | crack |
     under the stairs.
caterpillar, cockroach, baby doll where are you?
Hours strolled by
and by and by the large man who came to rescue me
was not a man
but a jackal
dressed in pinstripes
charcoal
and ashes
on his soul
spouting fables
of new homes,
chandeliers,
and swimming pools
f i l l e d     with twenty dollar bills.
But the | crack | suited me fine.
I was a caterpillar,
     a cockroach,
          her baby doll.
and she cried as the jackal ate me
     —sob, sob, sob—
     but her tears
     stuck
     halfway
     down
     her
     face

“hard light” © relaxkid55 (https://www.flickr.com/photos/32183619@N05/5403105505)

Magical Thinking

Janie believed
in magical thinking

so when her boyfriend
spread her arms

and asked if she’d like to fly
she took it literal

when she saw the syringe
in his hand she ran

away from the sharpness
of his suggestion

thinking if she could get
ahead of the wind

it would lift her to the sky
but the best she could do

was a series of petite allegros
that left her breathless

Beautiful sighed a homeless man
on the corner
She’s Venus come to life.

But no one heard him
past the scabs on his lips

Alone in the bustling streets
Janie bent

hands on knees
and let her heart lub-dub

against her ribs
A coin glinted

among dirty wrappers lining the gutter
Miracles happen Janie said

She spent the money
on a tin of ravioli

eating dinner on the edge
of the Seine

By morning she was gone
leaving behind an empty can

and a homeless man’s memory
of a girl who could soar

Mureall Hebert is a writer and editor near Seattle, Washington. Her work has appeared in Five 2 One Magazine, Reflex Fiction, Apeiron Review, The Blotter, Yellow Chair Review, decomP, Crack the Spine, Lunch Ticket, and Bartleby Snopes, among others. She holds an MFA from the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts. You can find her online at @mureallhebert.

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