Friday, June 18, 2010

Blood Moon by Chella Courington

Sophie tickles my cheek with her tongue, and I give her my right arm. Like the Virgin’s mantle sliding over my shoulder, she rolls her muscles to the drummer’s heartbeat, washing me in light. Mama calls my boa a serpent, and me a dirty coochie dancer. Jesus lives in covered-dish suppers at the Boaz Baptist Church. But I believe Jesus lives in Sophie. At the Bottoms Up Bar she first appeared—eyes milky, scales ghost white. Just slept on a cover under the sink and refused to eat for six days. On the seventh, clouds evaporated. Clear dark eyes and bright brown body. Three days later, she rubbed and pushed her nose against the back screen until the skin broke. All day she pressed against the linoleum floor, never letting up. At night a translucent ribbon lay on the quilt—eye caps on top.

Doorknobs short fiction first-prize winner, Doorknobs and BodyPaint (Issue 55, August 2009).

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

September by Chella Courington

Fog on the horizon
hides hard island edges.
Close to the patio
sprinklers swish: streams rise
in sun before falling in the garden.
Six plastic-pink flamingoes
parade by the sago palm.
A pair of dolphins, together
still after twenty years, watch
from the granite fountain.

Stripping an apple, peel swinging
in air, I think of Mother
who sliced what grew around her.
From wood the size of playing cards
she whittled small animals:
our cat on haunches, neck turned.
She carved a woman
on her knees, mostly stomach,
hands buried her bowed face.

Santa Ana winds blow dry
and scatter dust in their wake.
Hummingbirds circle coral bells.
Their wings, shadow puppets
on stucco. Heavy with petals,
dahlias bend to rocky dirt.
Once I caught a Regal Moth—
panes of ruby and jade.
For three days, she flew.

Tonight my namesake calls
like Linda Blair from The Exorcist:
voice gravelly, emerging
from Minnesota. At 25 Satan
and God crowd her head.
No meds can wash them out.
God will kill you for leaving me.
I squeeze the receiver
not forgetting her butterfly nightshirt—
wings pressed against me.

First Published: Touchstone (2007-2008). Ed. David Murphy.