Gone Lawn
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Gone Lawn 24
Spring, 2017

New Works

Amanda Faith Poirier


Under the Flourescent Light

Under the fluorescent light, they browse the aisles in pairs. The serious shoppers wear plastic smiles and bright colors; they shake rattles over our nursery beds. Like those with gloved hands, they evaluate our reactions. Do we cry? Do we giggle? If we giggle, they may pinch our cheeks. If they're chubby and we bare a dimple, they may pick us up and smell our diaper. If they raise us up in the air and we spread our arms like an airplane, they may squeeze our body against their body. It may be warm, unlike our naked beds, and smell fresh like those who emerge from behind the swinging doors, in a cart pushed by the ones with gloved hands. The serious shoppers may not let go and carry us all the way to check out where we are rung up and taken out from under the fluorescent light.
If they aren't serious shoppers, they may poke our bellies hard, leaving a purple and blue spot. They may snort. There is a face only a mother could love. Too bad it will never have one. They may lift us up into the air, smelling our diapers too, then wrinkle their noses (what a stinker!) and deposit us back into our bed curt and cold. Then, when they pick up our neighbor in the adjacent bed, smell their diaper, and say, like fresh roses, we wail.

*

We're jealous of the new make.
The rumors are mainly the same. We hear the new model has two dimples, a softer spot on its forehead, a higher pitched giggle, longer lashes, and mismatched eyes. We long for their features and we don't understand why.
We should not be resentful of the new make. We were all manufactured through the same process — an egg injected by a sperm. It is a clean and professional process, free of error. Still, our minds are overcome by the question: Are we less loveable than the new make?

*

We are bound in a blanket. We welcome its warmth. Then, we are put in a cart and pushed through doors that swing. We enter a flat, ashen room. Light overwhelms us. We want to whimper. We stay silent.
They place us in our new bed. It's larger than the last. We already miss the tight, secure walls of the former bed. The shadow of those with gloved hands withdraws. We close our eyes and wish for them to come back to us.
Later, when they return to feed us we smile, relieved. Within moments, they are gone. We cry until they come to feed us again. This time we giggle simulating happiness. They depart, we cry louder, until they come to feed us once more. We bite the gloved hand, an impulsive act. They leave us unfed. We cry with regret and self-loathing until we faint from the labor. When we wake, they check our diapers, they change our clothes, and then they feed us. We don't like it, we hate it, but we accept it.
A rattle shakes. We look up, hopeful. A colorful pair wearing plastic smiles approaches as those with gloved hands leave. We squeeze our fingers and toes together with genuine glee, we think. When the pair with ungloved hands picks us up, we spread our arms wide. We drool. They cradle us against their chest; we hear hearts beat, as they squeeze us close. This is love, we think.
They deposit us in our bed and pick up another. We coo loud, too loud perhaps, for they do not return. The pair repeats the actions, until they squeeze one they truly love. Or, we wonder, have they simply grown tired of the fluorescent light and ashen, flat walls?

*

Someday, when we return to the place under the fluorescent light, we will remember the day we were here. We promise not to poke, tease, or snort before a nursery bed no matter how distasteful its contents are. END.



The Murders. What Murders?

The white dust dams the Murders' wings as they ascend into the Airs. The Murders, scabbed and stiff, cut and twitter. Into the thick, the Cloud of Loss loses its balance. The Murders lament. Our sister is gone. They plait their wings into a blanket of prayer.

Sister, our flight slows.
We miss your plumage.
Sing, dear sister, sing.
We need your thoughts.
They collect; they bind us.

The Murders' sights unravel and open the Vault of Tears. In the Vault, the wind winds and water washes the Murders' wings matte. The water's weight weighs. The weighted Murders tail into a pocket of air. Here, in the pocket, there is no air or wind. The Murders do not fear, for here is not here for long. Here is soon there, in the Airs, where the Murders stern steers them back on track. To track down the threat that stole their sister.
The Murders meander through Charcoal Mist. Unease settles. Unease unsettles. In the smudge, a wake of beetles emerges. Their appetites awaken. The Murders open their beaks. The Murders' last supper was when the sun rose and set, when reality wedded reason. The Murders' sights contract. They chase the months through a procession of snow, flakes of former moths, back to their sister.
Dear sister, dead sister, how did we lose you? The grime question slashes the Murders' skins, as they dive into Shadow. The absence of answers agitates their insides and deadens their desire to devour.

*

The Murders move through Shadow. Some spiral, others stumble, and all separate like their mind.
Some Murders cry off: Beetles, moths, our sister, sweet sister, all are not. We cannot despair! We cannot mourn! Other Murders cry out. We need to find our sister's form! Or our minds will split forever.
They quarrel above the aftermath that is, was, and never will be the Lands. Parted, they soar across Lifeblood River. Its current is cracked.
We must move on. Find food and water, some Murders cast off.
We must locate the threat, other Murders cast out.
The sand storm interrupts. A line of shattered soil slices the Murders' flight.
Their sights sharpen, hone in on a tree. Its bark is clawed, chewed off.
The tree was skinned alive, some Murders unraveled, reveal. Upon hearing rasps of what they believe is breath, other Murders gasp: It's alive! Nothing's alive, some Murders do not say.
The sand tornado breaks, like their minds, as they inhale the tree's sugary scent. The scent attracts all Murders to the calcified crows spanning the sapped sapling.
Fly away, a whisper, a warning, is unheard or unheeded by all Murders.
The unsightly sight of the calcified crows does not hinder the Murders from lingering above the tree's limp limb. The calcified crows collect close like the Murders. Their crowns huddle and wings warm. The calcified crows' eyes are petrified. Their beaks are parted as if they about to caw caution. Then death decided they would not.

*

The Murders. What Murders? Do not hear the whisper of warning. They've forgotten their organs of hearing. An instrument so finely tuned they could hear a threat approach from hundreds of meters away.
The Murders. What Murders? Forget their mission. They forget their wings that are no longer flying. They do not realize they are perched, placed beside the calcified crows.
The Murders. What Murders? Fail to see their sister. Their strong sights have failed them. They did not show them the predator and they did not see that they were prey.
The Murders? What Murders? Roar. Amble. Swim. Bark. END.



Amanda Faith Poirier received an MFA in Creative Writing from Lesley University. She lives in Providence, Rhode Island. She does not tweet or snap and enjoys coffee, like most adult humans.