The ice screams as it folds over itself. I want the fog to kiss me, but it wraps like a damp scarf, tightening, sliding down my throat and dying in my belly like a sigh. I count rabbits and daisies and pale women. So cold my piss bounces off the ground. My breath ripens and falls. Words crystallize and fail. So cold my God has already said checkmate, has already retired to bed. Here miracles and discoveries choke – my arms would shatter into a million pieces over these glaciers if I could lift them. If I still had arms. A brain. Is that me out there, skipping savage stones and dancing? Or just grey, an unending landscape of glue and glue and glue. Snowcaps like drowned pines, ice pellets that whirl in circles like millions of gnats. Conversations with the demons. They tell me to bury myself now and ante up for a hand of poker. It is a game we've played before, cutting deep into ourselves, pouring blue blood – hearing something just over the horizon and realizing it is, again, only the beginning.
Tara Laskowski was the 2009 Kathy Fish Fellow and writer-in-residence at SmokeLong Quarterly. She has had stories in Barrelhouse, The Northville Review, Wigleaf, Pindeldyboz and others. She can be found online at http://www.taralaskowski.com/.