From The Black Naught

I wasn’t ready to start my day. I wanted to stay in bed, wrapped up in Peter, and watch the rise and fall of white cotton sheets for a little while longer. Or close my eyes and go back to dreaming. In my sweet sleep, you were sat on the beach, building sandcastles and exhaling gusts of wind so strong, you sent the clouds sailing across the sky. You were wearing that ugly hand-me-down bathing suit. The pink one with daisies printed all over.

Rising orange-pink sunlight penetrated my eyelids, and I turned away from the window. The birds sang, and their songs filled me with dread. I thought of the entity—the sentinel thing. A shadow hovered above me, and I was afraid to open my eyes again. I wasn’t afraid I’d see the black naught’s non-eyes nodding off—it had abandoned me years ago—but afraid of your accusatory milky ones, staring down at me from your waterlogged face. Of course, I have no real idea what you’d looked like after you were recovered from the lake.

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Daddy, I Was Angry, Too

I was angry, too,

so I sat down beside her in the mauve painted bedroom.

Your face lay in fragments,

strewn about the floor.

The carpet was brown,

and worn too thin.

Loose threads tickled my bare legs.

I crossed my legs,

and selected a photo album.

The kitchen shears felt good in my irrational young hands.

I lifted you from a yellowed page,

and considered the length of your hair.

You looked like the Catholic Jesus Christ, and I decided

I quite liked the sarcasm.

I thought no more

about ruining such a fine image of you and your AMC Javelin.

Instead, I selected something forgettable.

She watched me with wet red eyes and a sick smile.

You know, my mother is the only person I’ve ever known who

actually made the boo-hoo sound when she cried.

And she cried.

She always cried

back in those trailer park days.

Those days when your two girls were raised by

junkyard dogs.

I was angry, too,

so I excised your fucking face from 

paper memories.

I was angry, too,

and I am angry, now.

Angry at a dead woman.

I don’t have to tell you any of this.

I already know what you would say,

and I love you for it.

Metal Scrapes Porcelain

Photo by Mati Mango on Pexels.com

My mouth is pregnant with sound,

but my lips

form only silent shapes;

and you taunt me over a plate of

post-fuck

scrambled eggs.

You used to love my scrambled eggs,

but now you’re not even eating;

you push the food around with a fork

while I

swirl a glass of pink zinfandel,

and contemplate killing you.

Metal scrapes porcelain…

the moon is no longer ours;

she’s retreated

deep within a grey white veil—

an ever passing shroud.

Metal scrapes porcelain…

never again will we make love

‘neath the pallid watch.

Never again

will you hear the shrill of my heart.

Metal scrapes porcelain…

and my mouth is pregnant with sound,

dead under the noise of a fuckin’ fork

pushing eggs to the center of a dinner plate.

I take the fork from your flimsy fingers

and wonder

what your blue eyes would taste like

post-fuck.

Metal scrapes…

A sneak peek into The Black Naught by Kindra M. Austin

My Screaming Twenties

This week on My Screaming Twenties celebrates the recent release of Kindra M. Austin’s newest novel, The Black Naught.


chapter one: Birds/Bleeding Hearts

Talk to me. I want to hear your thoughts.

Am I asleep? Am I dreaming?

Tell me a story. Or tell me about today.

Is that really you I hear?

Begin at the beginning.

Okay. I remember lying down between cool cotton sheets at dusk, when the black naught in the corner of our once shared bedroom would yawn awake. Even though I was old, I was sent to bed early the night before our annual trip to Tawas. I’d ignore the sentinel thing and look out the window to watch the dim white stars stir silvery blue in an inky sky. What if I could pull down the night? I wondered; and I imagined thick, wet panes falling to the earth. Other times, I’d try to…

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A Dream I Had

I

And from the evergreen trees,

walked a herd of white-tailed deer—

two pairs of twelve point antlers

leading

through a field, dead brown, and crisp.

The sky was colorless; sun

shone butter pale, unmelting.

II

Seemingly unseen, I watched,

and the deer continued to

near.

Two by two, they shed their great

horns, and shrugged off liar’s hides—

carrion for the black crows.

So many crows crowing as

the canis lupus rose up.

III

I lay on my soft belly

and wept for my red insides.

I imagined a stabbing

and wondered if a long tooth

would leave the same sensation.

They didn’t begin with my

middle.

Rather, they went for my limbs.

I felt my muscles shred, and

and the running wet red scorched.

IV

Here I lie dying, but I

killed two wolves with my bare hands.

One by one I unhinged their

jaws and ripped out their hot tongues.

Here I lie dying, but I

killed two wolves with my bare hands.

V

I can hear them eating, but

I don’t feel it anymore.

Depression Stills Me

I

Depression stills me again,

and I watch with concrete eyes.

Women I never could have been see me

only

as a monument for the otherwise; and I am lonely,

here in this public park.

Pigeons clutch my fingertips and

peck at my nail beds; flecks of red

collect at my feet and I’m reminded of

the first time I bled:

I was fourteen, and afterward, I sang

hymnals for my hymen

while he washed me off his hands;

he, the father of my child.

I loved him, once.

II

Depression stills me.

Men sit in my shadow on a

hot day and eat their meat lunches

while the pigeons peck my nail beds.

Flecks of red collect at my feet, and my feet,

which were meant for gardens,

smell like city dog piss.

III

Depression stills me.

I am no monument, but

a tombstone,

lonely over an empty grave.  

I Die Every Hour/Within Irises

I

I die every hour,

watching you conform to

all the ideals

you were never meant for.

You were never meant for…

If only you would fall between my lines.

I write to you honestly,

my messy love, before midnight.

I love you truly,

complicated heart.

You beat against your cage—

rage against the cage built

within

mother’s womb.

Goddamn you.

I die every hour you deny me.

II

Would I,

if you’d let me,

count those constellations,

blooming ‘gainst daylight blue,

and dancing ‘round two black moons.

Would I,

if you’d let me near,

clutch your stars.

I Stopped Praying (from Heavy Mental)

I heard

her troubled murmurs

tangled with the

soft gravel of a man’s voice;

his name was Not My Dad,

and he was dancing

with my mom

in the too bright kitchen, down the hall.

Their shadows came in waves,

crashing

into the darkness

beneath my bedroom door.

They’d just finished fucking,

out in his van.

I wondered if she’d fucked them all—

his friends were there,

laughing.

Laughing.

Laughing at my mom.

I remained in my bed,

swearing to a god

that I’d never let her suffer

again.

But she did,

and I stopped praying.