​​H E R M E N E U T I C   C H A O S   J O U R N A L

lydia copeland gwyn


It is afternoon. It is afternoon in my hands and in the sky. I close my eyes and try to guess which boy is kissing me. I taste the salt of one boy, the penny of another. Someone unbuttons the lace around my neck, flicks fingers against my earlobe. From far away I hear braying in a farmer’s stable and a diesel engine. Someone sprinkles blades of grass over my bare legs then water from a plastic bottle. They’re making a recipe of me. This is the good boy who, wraps my hair into a spiral on his finger. This boy is the taste of sweet corn from a can, green stalks rising up with rows of silvery teeth on their cobs. This is the boy who tastes of my grandmother’s soup on Sunday; the boy who will drown the following summer while diving off in his father’s boat. That boy tastes of sadness, of dark tongue, of loneliness in a dim bedroom with no overhead light, and a quilt over the window. This one bites away the bruise, the blue-gray of my stockings, and all that remains are the cigarettes in my dress, the smoke in my hair.

Lydia Copeland Gwyn's stories have appeared or are forthcoming in the Florida Review, New World Writing, Elm Leaves Journal, NANO Fiction, Smokelong Quarterly, Glimmer Train and others. Her flash fiction manuscript In the Air a Shining Heart was the 2nd place winner of the Florida Review's 2014 Jeanne Leiby Memorial Chapbook Award. She lives in East Tennessee with her husband, son, and daughter.