Honi Soit Writing Competition Fiction Shortlist

& it’s winter ’09-

my mother serves me sliced apples & i stuff them in my

cheeks, ripe

laughter spilling out of my too-small mouth &

bounding off my tongue. in this moment & the rest,

time is a freshly ironed sheet, crisp with the sun.

every tree’s filtered light is a personal disco ball. i dance

to almost-visible sound & my head is a tooth ready to fall.

i think i could be the bobblehead on my father’s dashboard

& i giggle at the sight of it.

again again again

i am just a child –

inflatable toes & always forgetting how real a body is.

everyone has touched me but no one has

            Touched me & i am

my body & everything more & it is all still mine &

                        it’s winter 2020 & there’s a pandemic

outside & it’s blooming. i am sitting in the bathroom

trying to scrub the skin off of

my body, pressed against the side of the sink.

i hang it up by the fingernails to dry in the spilt drool of the sun.

i am blacking out all the mirrors,

braiding pearls into my hair,

planting white lilies in the garden

& i am still

just my looted body & the skin holding it together

& nothing more.

time in the time of lockdowns is fruit-bowl still-

each second sits, ripe & ready to be peeled

open. i watch them rot.

i see my reflection hiding in the window

& i am tangible again. someone Touches me

to the chants of tired protests

& the worldwide gravedigging.

my body wonders if it can be a watch.

wonders if it can be a stamp

in the corner of an envelope-

Filed under: