Lydia Stucki

[FICTION] Accidental Photographs


He listens to his beloved as if she invented a supernova and kept it in a locket above her breasts. Every light in his eyes was a promise he didn’t mean to make. I’ve seen love: it’s a starfish and never need say a word. She was long and her heels clacked on mossy carpet. We dreaded the day she flew away to her swallow’s nest and sang dirges until apple blossoms rained in the Rockies.


See, I can be a poet, even if I’m not the sort of poet that poets want to read. Nothing you can say will take from me the inch of difference that we danced around him, pouring honey from her soul to mine like a painkiller. We wove rings of runes round cups of chamomile, secretly binding eggs to oil and water with that brown powder from a cardboard box. Can safe places be seen from space as bubbles of heat? Will the water ever boil?


I clench my arm and hover over the note, not playing because who can find invisible pitches. They’re ghosts of whispers and I dare not disturb the dust or silence. I won’t speak those three names aloud. They’ll get me into such trouble, don’t you see? I can barely hear the melody anymore. It’s lost in the carpet, or too high for me to hear, like the marcato harmonic of a razor under your arms amid the rhythm of falling water.


My eyes roll over your beveled collarbones, down the blithe curve of goose skin and up off your nipples. The lift is enough to fling them back across the gap into my own heart, where a small scribe sits and writes in the mucus-covered walls: THIS STOOL DOES NOT SIT ON TWO LEGS.


You see, and hear, and revel in the touch: he slithered out of our braid and left an invisible space for our bodies to press even closer together. It was all a damnable tangle after that. We had to unwind the whole thing with a pencil in the cassette’s teethed plastic holes too small for our adult fingers.


Iscariot, your unbidden kiss made an ass of you. Learn a thing or two: some betrayals are honest, and some are cruel. I didn’t take a Polaroid of that kiss you should never have given her. I didn’t run away in a yellow shirt and pass it from one smudged, greasy hand to another to another until it reached the cold stare of your knighted lord who said he didn’t give a damn.


I’ll catslink around a dustless balcony and keep an eye out for a different sort of wish.


Bury me in willow and I’ll be able to push out when I yawn and float up through the murky riverbed. It’s overgrown since I last saw it. The poison oak has lovingly enveloped the creaky swings and nettles have blossomed in the tall grasses around the silent glade where he buried me in spring. He poured honey on my lifeless lips. The bracelet I wore for fifty years rests on top my breasts. Mosquitoes and fireflies saturate the humid air on midsummer’s eve, when I rise and shake the river-water from my hair, clad only in moss and blankets.


I’ll come to your back door and your mother will scream to see my ambivalent nudity. You’ll take me in your arms and the pure humidity of my skin will soak through your tank top. I’ll kiss the corners of your eyes and knot my knuckles in your dyed-maroon hair. You’ll laugh and we’ll leave a muddy trail up the white carpet on your spiral stairs. You bump my hip with yours. “You know, I always wished to love the fairest river-daughter.”


Lydia Stucki is a bisexual writer who has been published in Kodon and Flip the Page.

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