The blade dropped, and its precision left much to be desired. Another rodent’s escape. She was spread thin, like the last bit of jelly on her Saltine crackers, sifting through a pile of yellowing envelopes weighted with bold-faced capital letters. The textured wall beside her supported a body that, though muscular, was losing its strength, and the tears that met the peeling paint softened its edges into the kind of fungal clusters that grow on dead logs.

     Three or four steps from her kitchen sink and she was spread atop her sheets and comforter, considering the irony of its name. It provided no sanctuary from the square of springs it dressed. Dressed, something she did and undid for the evening shift, and a heel had broken off her last pair of shoes the morning before.

     The space he occupies is narrow, barely wider than his shoulders and stretches before him as far as he can see. Intuitively he understands this space, this thread, belongs exclusively to him, but had he been able to look from above, he would see the spaces of others, parallel and intersecting his own, in an infinite grid.

     His space stretches between a series of glass doors, each of unremarkable width but as high as he can see. The door closest has gold numbers coruscating, which he recognizes as time. THE time immediately preceding the decision which led him here. He could choose this door, the door that would allow him a different outcome to his final decision, the decision to avoid the child in the road that led to his fatal accident. By entering this door, he could go back, avoid his accident, and trade the child’s life for his own, but he has no compunction over this decision. He walks past, and the door vanishes.

Sparrow Pie

I rent the apartment upstairs from Marcus
His garage is full of junk he uses to make things like a shop vac or parts for his car
or a sparrow trap

Once, when I passed his garage, he was trying to find a silver rod
for his chicken coop
He lured me in with his homemade apple brandy

After searching for a while he became so frustrated he told me
he thinks about killing himself. When he looks in the mirror
he says he sees a monster

On the shelf in his garage is a box that contains
an old Halloween decoration. On the box written in sharpie it says
“Marcus the Carcass” and inside is a rubber zombie mannequin

Marcus says he feels so alone sometimes he wants to be the dead one

The sparrow trap sits at the end of the driveway
It’s a metal structure that lets sparrows in with no exit. After a few hours
they just die. Marcus says when he has six of them, he’ll make a sparrow pie

I walked past the sparrow trap this morning and there were
two sparrows. They looked exactly alike except that one of them
was alive, still trying to get out, and the other one was dead in the corner (more…)