i am sinking brandy into the chest of father christmas in a mirrored field station searching for truth/ and he is singing fight songs on the coffee table, offering me decanters of frothy lies made from good tasting soap and cinnamon/ he tells me he dreams of being in the rockettes, but he is running late/ then he swallows me into the darkness of his eyetooth cavity/ and i think this means more than just the north pole is dying
i am six years old and standing on a pool table while seven radioactive lab assistants poke me in the kneecaps with billiard cues/ after formal introductions, they tell me human flesh is a delicacy in the briar patch/ and i am buttoned into my catholic school uniform with shoelaces that won’t stay tied/ and i think this means you are no longer my emergency contact
i am pretending to sleep in a trench coat under the kitchen table in my grandmother’s house/ and you are married so i cannot see your face/ although your breath smells of footprints and there is a camera ticking in your pocket/ and i can see us through the eyes of the wallpaper daisies as the basement waters rise/ and i think this means we are not long for this world
Alyson Mosquera Dutemple’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in Colorado Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Passages North, DIAGRAM, Lunch Ticket, and Wigleaf, among others, and her short story manuscript was a runner-up for the 2022 Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction. She works as an editorial consultant and creative writing instructor in New Jersey and holds an MFA from The Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. Find her on Twitter @swellspoken and at www.alysondutemple.com.