H E R M E N E U T I C C H A O S J O U R N A L
K R I S T E N F I G G I N S
Kristen Figgins received her MA in Creative Writing from the University of Louisiana and currently teaches at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin. Her work has appeared in such places as Dunes Review, The Gateway Review, Puerto del Sol, Sleet Magazine, and is forthcoming from The Whale Road Review. Her story "Track Me With Your Words, Speak Me With Your Feet" was winner of the 2015 Fiction Award from Puerto del Sol and her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, Micro Award, and Write Well Award. Her first chapbook, A Narrow Line of Light, is available for purchase from Boneset Books.
T E L L M E , G L A S S
Little times ago, a blinking light in the sky over the desert. We watched and watched until the light fell and splintered on the tall towering edges of an oil rig. There was an explosion. We watched that, too.
Little girl, she walked out of the wreckage, in the arms of a rig hand, baby girl with deeply dark skin and brilliant eyes, in whose eyes spun the blinking glitter of the light in the sky. The rig hand, dirty and with the pocked face of one who has seen the sparky tricks of methamphetamines, hands her to us. She is screaming.
We drive home across the desert, in a straight line across the desert, a straight long road that goes on forever in every direction. We take turns holding her on our laps, little screaming girl, whose head pulses and eyes flash like an explosion. It makes my empty belly stir.
She stops crying when she catches sight of her reflection in the mirror, gleaming at her, winking at her. She watches and watches. We watch her.
She grabs my hand and holds hers up next to mine, staring at the white skin of my arms and the thin blue lines of my veins. Beautiful veins that she licks with her tiny baby tongue; she puts everything into her mouth that she can reach in the car: my blue veins and paper cups from drive-thru burger joints and a road map and her own chubby fist and a sour apple candy wrapper. The flavors make their way across her face in flashes of discovery.
Her reflection catches her again and again: in the side-view mirror, in the darkened window, in the shining silver of my belt buckle.
Beautiful girl, who stares at me and my pale skin, untanned by the desert sun and at my veins shining clear through my skin and at my pale eyes and begins to scream again and who sees herself in glimpses of make-shift mirrors and I want to hold her close and tell her, you are beautiful, you are beautiful, you are the most beautiful thing, no one can take that away from you. She won’t always know this, she will grow older, as I did. We ride in the rocking car, passing her eagerly from lap to lap as we dangle trinkets in front of her for examination. Blue-and-red lights from outside the windows make her eerie. Brown brick buildings loom closer, and I know that we will abandon her soon, someone else’s little problem, that little girl.
For now, I hold her close and I know that she, she so sweet and screaming, she so beautiful and fascinated, she who glittered down from the sky, she will consume me. I know that this baby will eat my little heart if I don’t run, run, run.
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