The Wick

There was once a wick, white and spiral, that stood sturdy by the help of hardened wax. Protected from falling, she was grasped too tightly, and couldn’t ever get free. 

Why can’t I live like the rug? She wondered. It didn’t even want to move.

Or why can’t I live like a light bulb. She whined. Its light could wander for miles.

When there was no answer and she thought she’d give up, a match was made in heaven.

“If you want to be free, I’ll light you on fire, but you’ll never be sturdy again.”

The match said no more and the wick couldn’t wait. He struck her and torched her soft hair.

The wick felt a warmth she had never felt before and knew she was changed forever. The wax began to melt as her body grew taller; the flame could not stop its fire.

The wax slid past her white cotton spirals and dripped against its jar. A coldness passed her middle from the exposure of open air and she looked for the nearest comfort.   

“What do I do now!? I have no support!” The wick looked down at the floor. She had just touched the glass, but she couldn’t feel her body. She had come to the end of her rope. 

The MP3 Player

My friend gave it to me 18 years ago and it hasn’t failed me once. 

The songs cannot be organized into folders and are listed in alphabetical order. The Chemical Brothers and one Mazzy Star song came preloaded as a surprise. I’ve heard them too many times now, but I can’t ever seem to delete them. Like that one Rick Astley song that was once a daily joke, these are the voices committed to memory.  

People sometimes ask me if I plan on getting an ipod. Or using a smartphone. Or upgrading to a newer model. But if it works, it works.

The Toy

How he wound up on the floor was not a mystery. Things had always started off this way. For him, his father, and his father’s father. 

Some creatures were made for the bottom.

Unlike the other mice, this one only slunk. While not particularly graceful, he hid with his body in a dwelling of artificial shoulders until he could feel somewhat safe.

The space between the cabinet and the dishwasher.

The shadow behind a fake plant.

The hole in the fabric of the living room chair.

He didn’t have to move quickly as long as he was covered so he never bothered looking for more space. 

The living room was the same as all living rooms. Two couches and a table between. An ominous fireplace the cat sometimes sat in was always unused during the spring. 

The kitchen was also the same. Other mice took refuge under the fridge, but the cat always found them. There was no reason to go out; the fear was too great. Cracks streaked the underside of Ikea shelving. The mouse preferred to stay in. 

One day the house was quiet. No NPR. No pitter patter of paws. Just to see what the rest of the house looked like, the mouse struck out on his own. So brave he was, the other mice were shocked. So bold and dashing and handsome. 

All at once he ran for the shelving and darted outside the chair. Through the kitchen and down the hallway he turned to the smooth black tiling. He had made it as far as the bathroom when he felt his body grow larger. Puffed out fur made him light as popcorn. The mouse was at last, unafraid.

From the middle of nowhere, he didn’t even hear it, he just felt the world flop over. Cadbelly, the odious white cat with one working eye, had batted him hard to the ground. His feet pointed upward with the smile on his face and he knew his anxiety was over. 

The Telephone Wire

There was once just one. A long skinny line strung up in the sky carried voices. So many tunneled in. It seemed there should be two.

Two lines of communication running parallel could do the trick. One could carry half the load. The other, the other.

One kept quiet. When the other wondered about their share of the conversation, whatever was said remained silent.

Inside the telephone wire there were people with problems. Casserole recipes. Questions about estrogen. Their friend. Their friends. Their other friend’s friends. All day both lines heard the frequent chatter of others.

“As big as a watermelon.” One voice recounted.

“Babies are too fat these days.” Throughout time they transferred information to each other.

But the wires were quiet. Side by side they did not intersect. This was because one was the other. And the other was the other just the same.

The Dresser

Free: Pickup Required

This dresser has served me very well over the past several years. When I was in elementary school I was dressed with immense care. No Disney characters were used. My pants were real denim.

As a teen I started to appreciate the scent of deep drawers. I stored all kinds of stuff in there. Ripped jeans, flannel shirts, even my favorite STYX cassette were completely safe.

There are no holes in the dresser. It’s still sharp. On point.
This dresser has never broken down.

When I moved to my first apartment the dresser came with me. It wasn’t of much use. I kept finding myself clawing through orange ties and polyester pants. Something had irritated the wood.

I tried to overlook this fact and brought it to my new home, but we both felt awkward on the stairs. Although the dresser was once smooth and well-adjusted, it’s a little too damaged for the bedroom.

We had good times, my dresser and I, but now I’m giving it away. For those who need a competent dresser, the composition is incredibly deep.

The Coasters

I once was something, but I never changed so now

I coast.

Everything is fine and nothing is wrong so now

I sit.

On a table. Next to magazines someone may have read or may have not.

Just depending.

_

On ambition or the idea of a prospect, not object, in the somewhat near

Future.

But it’s close.

Or so they think and so they read,

The New Yorker.

_

Some say I’m smug because I don’t want something

Undefinable. Just sustainable.

Something that is already here and secure and normal

Not ambitious. 

They say I’m lazy.

_

Not particularly interesting. 

But full of promise and intellect and the energy to do more.

But I don’t.

And that irks them,

While I sit on the table fulfilling the lightest.

The easiest.

The most basic of basic necessities. 

The Lantern

I want to be just like the other two. This is my dream. When I close my eyes and see who I really am, I know I’m exactly like them. 

I really am just like the other two. We’re the same color. We have the same movements. I just haven’t clicked on for awhile.

Once I click on, I know we’ll be the same. It just takes a certain Je ne sais quoi. Once I click on, I’ll have the same light. We’ll all beam brightly together.

I would be just like the other two if I could figure out the switch. It was once turned on, I swear. One of them said I was so much brighter. The other one didn’t say a thing. If I could just remember how to press the right button, we’d literally all be the same.

I heard one of them say to the other that our room was a complete dump. I asked why, but they said I wouldn’t get it. I thought about asking again later on, but I’m glad I can’t see what they know.

The Rat Poison

The bellies of the beasts with the sickness and the death mated from each other’s navel gazing.

“Look how beautiful we are,” said the first to the second.

She was long and sleek with the coat of a rat. She had a head like one of a peacock. Tall feathers sprouted from her scalp. Like bright ideas they pointed high. All she could think of was the beauty of herself and the ideas, like her feathers, moved beyond her.

“It’s almost too much.” The second stared at his chest. He was made from multiple red hearts. Thumping in unison, he was a strong and steady rhythm: his body marched only for himself. With the blood of a thousand sons, his energy spiked mountains. His body was a gift from the Gods. He stared at his stomach, swollen from a feast, but suddenly noticed a hole.

“What is that?” The first said to the second. She pointed at her own belly in shame. She, too, had a tiny black hole and it was tunneling to the center of her core. She was sure she would have noticed had it been there before, but absent of its memory, she gazed. A dark emptiness went straight through her gut. A coldness spread wide.

The second stared at himself, his worry starting to grow. Poking their eyes as far inside as possible, each beast could not find the whole problem.

“Do you see anything?” The first asked the second.

“I see nothing.” The second said to the first.

The idea of a vast emptiness in the pit of such perfection was enough to make a grown beast cry. They curled their claws to reach and pry, but there was nothing to truly hold on to. They reached for themselves, but could not hold on. So they reached for each other in vain.

“I think I feel something.” The second said to the first.

After digging into crevices further against her flesh, he felt the sudden movement of acid. Unlike possible organs nourished in the blood of a belly, this was a wetness that was frozen.

Frantic with a mix of repulsion and curiosity, the second beast tried to melt her.

“What are you doing?” She asked with no answer. He was finding himself inside.

The acid crept closer to the ridges of her body, but it never once warmed to his touch. When it stung the sides of his clawed and gnarled fingers, he immediately retracted in pain.

The acid had melted. Trailing against his skin, it tunneled through his stomach for the chance of an easy spot. His own body was contaminated. Like a hollowed out fish with a lifeless disposition, he could feel the clearing of his hearts.

One heart stopped beating. And then another. His strength began to fade.

“What have you done?” He said to the first, but she had no answer to give him. “You’ve infected me. You’ve made me sick. You’ve given me your own poison.”

She stared at the beast, now scrawny and deflated and shook her head side to side. “I’ve got nothing of my own. I’ve got nothing to give. Whatever poison you have was your own.”

The Razor

It’s hard being the sharpest one in the room. At first I thought it was fun because everyone told me how clever I was. I slashed through a jungle of misrepresentation when someone once called me cruel. Like paper cuts, but stronger, they went to pieces when I was done.

Is everyone who is considered smart also considered mean? Only the dumb are allowed their innocence. Only the smart are truly persecuted. When I told them I was right and that they were always wrong, I knew I proved my point with exact precision.