One hand under her skirt and another with an open palm toward me. A slow shake of my head and her eyes flash. No, no, no. She knows what she wants, walks steady in my direction. She spits a gob in disgust, smiles when I flinch. Crosses herself and rolls her eyes into the back of her head, cackles. The balcony above me holds a plaster Madonna, thick vines choking her lily white neck, a crushed cigarette pack at her feet, foil all glittery and promising. There were one or two things I used to know about this city, but God, the heat, in the evenings and everything disappears. I sleep with the stone weight of the dead hear the hiss of caritas like an ancient lullaby. What remains is everything I have tried to forget. Razor wire smile and a gold tooth.
Michelle Reale is an academic librarian on faculty at Arcadia University in the suburbs of Philadelphia. Her work has appeared in a variety of publications, including The Pedestal, Gargoyle, Pank, JMWW, Smokelong Quarterly, Staccato, Word Riot, and elimae. Her work was included in Dzanc’s 2011 Best of the Web Anthology. Her short fiction collection, Natural Habitat, was published by Burning River in 2010. Her short fiction chapbook, Like Lungfish Getting Through the Dry Season (2011), is available from Thunderclap Press. She has been twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize.
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