by Donna D. Vitucci
The boys I loved unraveled me. They worked dirt under my fingernails and I allowed it. In the earth they gave me I tasted decay, in their old cars I licked crumbs at the mouth of the seat belt. They dipped me to the world, dangled it only inches from my eyes so I might more closely examine the greasy pore, the inflamed follicle, the beetle’s antennae, mold in its finest bloom, a neck crease, an ear swirl, a mighty cock.
With a lit cigarette I waited, then touched the dying filter to the dry circle I’d set, watched it eat and make lace of the leaves. My hands smelled of tobacco and fire. If someone didn’t come soon I felt I’d fly up to the trees. No magic, and not of my own accord, simply smoke in my blood I barely kept a lid on. The twin inside me was no green thing, she was seasoned wood and prime for burning. Was she who set the blaze, but me who spread my legs. Kit and Sally must have been dallying out of sight the way game-players do, affording me time with both boys. After, on our backs like stuck beetles, like satisfied cats, we—the two parts of me— each took confession and chewed it for food, swallowed it down with whiskey that Keith and Brad had swiped from a house along the route.
Giving the boys my back, I pulled into my clothes, hunched, not embarrassed just chilled. Anyway, they were already on to their next thing, smoking cigarettes, testing the dark with catcalls. Maybe in the future I’d learn, change, slow up, care more, but while they preened and peacocked with the silly, prettified girls who’d arrived, piercing the night with perfume and flashlights, I receded. Quiet was a cover, and sleep smelled of loam, where loam married star-struck my restless, pungent self. I gulped at my breath and then spent it on a cigarette. As one ember, I moved through the forest, along the back road berm, to a newly poured sidewalk, and across our lawn begging to be mowed.
All content in SmokeLong Quarterly copyright 2003-2015 by its authors.
Donna D. Vitucci helps raise funds for local nonprofits, while her head and heart are engaged in the lives of the characters mounting a coup in her head. Her stories can be found in dozens of print and online journals. Recent work appears, or is forthcoming, in Salt River Review, Front Porch Journal, The Whitefish Review, Diner, Storyglossia, Cezanne’s Carrot, Boston Literary Magazine, Insolent Rudder, and Another Chicago Magazine.
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Robinson Accola creates artwork for SmokeLong Quarterly as needed.
|Issue Twenty-Two (October 2, 2008):
Innocence, Briefly by Jenny Arnold «»
Tapioca O's by Natalie DeClerck «»
How Anything Got Done by Paul Elwork «»
Tenderoni by Kathy Fish «»
Breathing Oysters by Stefanie Freele «»
The Mime's Dog by Steven Douglas Gullion «»
Two Minute Silence by Sarah Hilary «»
Crazy Sun by Lauren Huckstadt «»
One Night Out by Ashley Kaufman «»
Asian Girl by W.P. Kinsella «»
Fatback by Jeff Landon «»
Bounty by Tricia Louvar «»
Beautiful by Antonios Maltezos «»
Constructing Birds by Jo Mortimer «»
Private Room by M.E. Parker «»
True Identity by Kevin Sampsell «»
Campfire by Donna D. Vitucci «»
Jenny Arnold «»
Paul Elwork «»
Kathy Fish «»
Stefanie Freele «»
Steven Douglas Gullion «»
Sarah Hilary «»
Ashley Kaufman «»
Jeff Landon «»
Tricia Louvar «»
Antonios Maltezos «»
Jo Mortimer «»
M.E. Parker «»
Kevin Sampsell «»
Donna D. Vitucci «»
Cover Art "November Leaves" by Marty D. Ison «»
Letter From the Editor