Seven petals on every flower, thirty-five along the border. Forty-two knot holes on the wall above the sofa, one in the shape of a woman curled into a ball.
I can’t see your eyes anymore, just the color of disappointment.
How many nights did we spend this way, me counting to stay in the room, stay in my body (just barely), stay in the same house as you? How many times in a dozen years? I can’t count them.
“Those were the best years of my life,” you said when it was over. I counted my heartbeats in the silence.
[Refer: The essay put the editors in mind of Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s story “The Yellow Wallpaper.”]
Image by Don O’Brien
Kristen MacKenzie lives on Vashon Island in a quiet cabin where the shelves are filled with herbs for medicine-making, the floor is open for dancing, and the table faces the ocean, waiting for a writer to pick up the pen. Her work has appeared in Brevity, Rawboned Journal, GALA Magazine, Extract(s) Daily Dose of Lit, Maudlin House, Blank Fiction Magazine and is included monthly in Diversity Rules Magazine. Pieces are forthcoming in Cease, Cows, Crack the Spine Magazine, Bluestockings Magazine, NAILED Magazine, Minerva Literary Journal and MadHat Annual. Her short story “Cold Comfort” placed in Honorable Mention in The Women’s National Book Association’s annual writing contest and will be published in a special edition of the association’s journal, Bookwoman, in June.