darling wasn't sure where she got the earrings. she thought of
duchess, cupping golden bells in her palm, caressing the pinked seam
of the cat's flesh: cause to mourn. afterbirth in a mason jar and the
feeling that she was unable to look. splitting open a lemon and
dropping the halves into a teacup. the ritual of crossing the forest,
the beach, leaving the house behind. duchess moving away with a thump
in her gut.
the silenced ring. the hen in the house with a hole in its throat,
white feathers spilling, the plump body deflating. darling sat in the
moonlight gazing down at the hem of her skirt, thinking of beasts in
the basement; the yawning maw of the furnace, the crusted eye of a
sealed box. stroking her hair and thinking of water babbling in the
faucet, thinking of you. sometimes she startled, tearing her earrings
from the lobes, then blood pulling her, yanked towards the laundry
hanging from the line, white sleeves waving -- sails filled by gusts of
darling stands and knocks the heel of her boot against the chair leg,
shaking off the mud.
she had spoken to someone she didn't know. someone standing in the
corridor, sweat staining the parts of their clothing close to skin.
teeth gleaming silver, a neat row of stones. somehow it was
embarrassing; darling'd suddenly stepped back. there was no one there.
she felt she wasn't really moving, guided like a thread. she closed
her eyes to cover her mistake, lifting her hands to restrain the
no effort to make it real: moths speaking in the attic, hushed over
shattered silk. moths straining in the air. someone pounding beyond
the wall. darling hurries towards the parlor, gliding down the stairs
-- on her breast, the imprint of a mouth she can't identify.
today she is certain she is closer to the last room, the one she is looking for.