The Mother Knocks Again, Harder This Time
But still there is silence. She says the boy’s name sharply. Open the door. She steps back, watching the narrow bar of light that creeps from under the closed door. What can the child be doing in there. Open it, she says. Or I’ll call the cops. The door opens a few inches, grudgingly. He wears pajama bottoms, no shirt, his eyes cast down. The mother pushes past him into the half-lit room. The bedclothes in disarray, a lamp knocked over, the smell of sweat. The boy glances nervously at the closet: among sneakers and boots stands a pair of narrow feet. The toenails are painted pink, the ankles are slender. The mother approaches, a hand over her mouth. The feet belong to a naked girl. She hides among hanging coats and dresses, her hand shielding her face. The mother gasps. She turns to the boy for explanation. He shrugs. Then an explosion of movement as the girl grabs her dress and runs from the room. A flash of pale flesh. The front door slams.
I’m in someone else’s house, a woman I once knew. For some reason, my possessions are here. A blender in the kitchen, my clothes inside her dresser, my books interspersed with hers in the bookcases. She asks me to take my things and go. I begin collecting my items, but there are too many. The blender is heavy. I carry it while rushing from room to room, my arms overflowing with jackets, bras, forks, alarm clock, shampoo. She stands by the door, tapping her foot impatiently.
I’m on an airplane. I don’t want to be here. The plane takes off. I take out my journal and my fountain pen. When I remove the cap from the pen, red ink splashes all over my fingers. I am forced to ask my mother for a tissue, but one is not enough to soak up all the ink and she refuses to give me another. My fingers are stained red and people are staring at me.
I’m walking my dog (beagle terrier mix), when another dog appears (black Labrador), and then another (dachshund). Now I have three leashes and three dogs. Things are bad enough for my cat already. How will she handle this?
I’m walking near the Hermitage. I’m wearing a massive silver ring, and black platform sandals. It is hot and bright outside. I see a man walking a medium-sized bear on a long leather leash. It’s White Nights. Maybe I’ve lost so much sleep that my mind is gone, too. I look again. The bear is walking along like he does this every day. But what if he were to turn and see me? What if he got it in his bear head that he didn’t like me? What would I do? Run in my ridiculous platform sandals? Trip and fall? What then? Would I be forced to defend myself, to use my weapon of a silver ring? But the bear walks on. The bear doesn’t care.
Dylan’s work has appeared recently in Sou’wester, Split Lip, Gargoyle, Cheap Pop, etc., and has a piece forthcoming in Ellipsis Zine.