by Andrea Danowski
She said she wanted to take it slow. I thought bad break ups, a baby scare, a bout of HPV. She insisted on skipping second base entirely: "Let's go straight to third." I didn't object. I thought blemishes, botched boob job, a birthmark. Then we fucked with our shirts on for months. I didn't mind so much. I was a little lazy sometimes anyway, appreciated one less step in undress.
art by Kelly Akin
Her sister got married. She was in the wedding, wore a blue strapless dress her sister picked out for her. She must have forgotten I was in the hotel room with her later, or the open bar let her forget. She unzipped the dress and let it fall. In this first look in the light of room 437, her back was perfect. Her front, too, when she turned. Except for the bandage she wore near her heart, thin and official like a transdermal patch. When she came to me, I ran my hand over it first, under her breast. Are you trying to quit smoking or something? She closed her eyes and wobbled and kissed me.
Between teeth and tongue she confessed, "There's a hole in me," and pushed me backwards onto the bed. She got on top, held my hands over my head. "Do you want to see it?" Yes. Yes, of course. She let go of my hands and warned, "No touching. Promise no touching." Yes, of course, no touching. I moved my hands under my head to punctuate the promise.
She almost fell off of me when she looked down to her patch, but I didn't steady her. With a fingernail a few shades darker than the blue dress she had been wearing, she picked picked picked at the corner of the bandage. "I have a hole in me." She peeled back the bandage and shook her hand until it flew free to the floor. A deep pink crescent revealed itself on her chest. She looked at me with droopy drunk eyes. "Do you want to touch it?" Of course I did. But I promised I wouldn't.
She pulled at one of my arms and placed my hand on her. I felt the skin in the center give a little. She let go and allowed my fingers to consider the slender pink moon. I traced the path, almost a complete circle, the strained circumference of the mouth of a blowup doll. And again her skin gave. I pressed down and she closed her eyes as I realized she hadn't been lying. "I know you're thinking you want to fuck me there, but don't." She tilted her head back as her chest opened for me. She put her fingers to her lips.
The flap of skin moved aside and allowed one finger, and then two, to enter. Like some strange miracle, I could feel the stretch of her ribs, the humidity of her lungs. Her hand came down and pressed against my own chest. She looked at me and nodded, and I maneuvered a little deeper.
Read the interview.
Andrea Danowski's work has previously appeared at Monkeybicycle, Nontrue, and Gloom Cupboard.
Kelly Akin is a self-taught artist mainly working with encaustics. This is a piece composed of many layers and incised to show the different colors that it has been made up of.
All content in SmokeLong Quarterly copyright 2003-2013 by its authors.
Issue Thirty-Eight (December 17, 2012):
Call Me Your Unbroken by Chuck Augello «»
Slow Dance by Andrea Danowski «»
Moms' Advice by Amy Denham «»
Crushed Ice by Gary Fincke «»
Second Runner-Up by Faith Gardner «»
The Fear of Something Happening by Nick Harmon «»
Christopher by Annie Hartnett «»
Messing with Texas by Anderson Holderness «»
Exercise in Translation by Naira Kuzmich «»
Boy Cyclops by Helen McClory «»
We Were Always Laughing by Mark O'Neil «»
The Speed of the Sound by Patty Petelin «»
The Earth Drowns Us by Brenda Peynado «»
Shit To Do with a Wedding Dress by Angela Readman «»
The Invitation by Amy Scharmann «»
The Abridged Biography of an American Sniper by Linda Simoni-Wastila «»
Dark Times by Matthew Smart «»
Parameters of a Kingdom by Laurie Saurborn Young «»
Chuck Augello «»
Andrea Danowski «»
Amy Denham «»
Gary Fincke «»
Faith Gardner «»
Nick Harmon «»
Annie Hartnett «»
Anderson Holderness «»
Naira Kuzmich «»
Helen McClory «»
Mark O'Neil «»
Patty Petelin «»
Brenda Peynado «»
Angela Readman «»
Amy Scharmann «»
Linda Simoni-Wastila «»
Matthew Smart «»
Laurie Saurborn Young «»
Cover Art by Josh George «»
Letter From the Editor
Interested in subscribing to SmokeLong's weekly newsletter? Click here. An email should be created. Send it as is, and you'll be subscribed. If the link does not work for you, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with Subscribe slq-info in the body of the email (no subject is necessary). You'll receive updates detailing the release of new issues, new reading periods, contests, etc. We do not make our mail list available to anyone else.