Monday, December 27, 2010

Pre-Dated January Remembering

Tarnished - 194 words
Sarah Van Name

It’s moments like those few seconds last night that make me really want to talk to you, when the air is so dry it cracks my lips like desert soil when I’m not paying attention. That in and of itself is strange enough because all the time we spent together was summertime, wet green harmonica time.

A few days ago, the girl who I now think of in tandem with you would have been twenty had she been still alive. Memories of her are tarnished in my mind now – a lamp touched too many times and drained of its magic – and soon the same thing will happen with you. It has started already.

But I miss you. I do. For reasons that are not specific or detailed and that no longer have anything to do with the softness of your breasts as I hugged you or the shape of your chin. I am not split open and gutted by the thought of concrete and glass, but perhaps because of the chord progression at the beginning of a certain song, or perhaps because of a birthday gone uncelebrated, I wish you were here this winter.

The '59 Sound - The Gaslight Anthem

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


127 - rejection

Sarah Van Name

I never knew rejection until one Saturday night when I was thirteen. I was sitting in front of the family PC and typing to a friend from camp, a boy with a taste for poetry and eyes the color of Mello-Yello. His name was Matthew and he was my first crush too big to be called a crush.

He made a confession. He told me he was in love with the girl I was rooming with next summer; admitted that he was optimistic about his chances. I could barely feel my fingers. That night I broke my ill-informed vow never to cry about a boy. Like wearing new shoes, it was the kind of pain that hurt until I grew accustomed to it and then faded away.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Sheets - 490

Sarah Van Name

Albert was my first love. As soon as I saw him in the containment facility, my breath caught in my chest and I got dizzy. Later, Yvonne would tell me that it was the lack of oxygen combined with the chemical fumes. But I remain convinced that it was love that struck my lungs and legs that evening.

I was put in charge of his feeding, which was difficult at first because we didn’t know what he ate. I would step into the outer room, put the food material into a drawer, and slide it into his cage. Each time, I hoped for some hint of a reaction: a swirling, perhaps a palpitation in that sultry orange core of his. But not once. Upon my approach, he withdrew to a corner and swirled into himself like a pouting child. Even after we figured out what he liked (dust and mashed bananas was concluded to be the favorite), he still wouldn’t come near me.

At first I thought it was just a general aversion to humans, and I began to resign myelf to the idea that no matter how much cardamom I put in his breakfast, he would never care about me the same way I cared about him. But then, one night, I saw him with Yvonne. He surrounded her body like a blanket. Through the mask of her Hazmat suit I could see her blushing.

Between my starched sheets that night I put on my headphones and did not sleep. All I could picture was the color of him, yellow and red like a sunset, the way he reduced when he was hungry. Everything I had done for him: I relived every time I selected the petri dish for his dinner so carefully, how I had chosen the ripest bananas. And still, the way he withdrew whenever I came near.

If you love somebody, set them free, the music told me as I listened to the same song over and over again. I woke up early that morning, when the lab was deserted. He didn’t want to get into the smaller box. I tried to soothe him the only way I knew how, with food, but I could tell he was unconvinced.

But I took him to the airlock and let him out. I placed the box back where I found it, went back to bed, and slept soundly.

The scientists were all aflutter – so much so that they didn’t even notice when I walked into the lab hours late. I had to pretend to be surprised. Yvonne, that traitorous whore, was crying. I took some satisfaction in seeing the stain of mascara on her cheeks.

“Alien Spirit Swallowed By the Universe,” the newspapers proclaimed. I cut out the clipping and taped it above my bed, so that every night, I could dream of Albert flitting in and out of star systems, my love happy and alone once again.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Teeth - 125 words

Your hands are storm water dripping from the gutter; they fall to rest on my hips, as if the curve of my waist was a puddle. This room is quiet but for the sound of heat bleeding from the radiator’s teeth.

While you sleep, your breath like a hunted rabbit, I pick out shapes in the shadows – things that used to scare me and don’t anymore.

When one walks down the hallway leading to the David, one sees Michaelangelo’s unfinished statues. They are blocks of marble, half-carved, bodies bursting out of them. An arm, the muscles of the thigh.

There’s a form inherent in the marble, Michaelangelo said. There’s a different creature inside my skin, I told you, but you don’t have an artist’s hands.