g r a v e l
A L I T E R A R Y J O U R N A L
He was relentless in forgetting,
And I bore witness to the disappearing.
It started with my feet:
They crumbled like dried sand;
Erasing the time he painted my toenails when roundness prevented me from doing it myself.
Next disappeared the freckles on my knees,
And that sensitive spot behind them that he would kiss with eyes closed.
By the grief he wore, I could tell his hands felt empty upon the loss of my hips.
"You don't have to do this," I suggested,
"Let me stay a half-girl."
But diligently he worked,
showing watery eyes only in the reflection of a tempered glass tumbler.
The tears fell when he boxed up the thought of lips brushing the scar above my navel.
We had made that mark together.
My breasts were plucked from his consciousness
As strewn toys are gathered from an otherwise empty floor.
He could no longer recall their soft weight in his palm.
My hair paled to transparency as strands weaved away through another man's fingertips.
What a small spool they made for having been so long and thick on my head.
I had nightmared like this once in early post-partum:
Disembodied hands pinching pieces off of my daughter's body;
calm voices mocking me with what week each limb or nose or toe had formed.
"Please don't," I whispered as he washed my lips away.
Only green eyes remained:
A memorable stain in his mind.
So I colour his dreams wet grass,
And he can't remember why he craves the nocturnal hue.
Katie Bickell lives in Sherwood Park, Alberta, with her husband and young daughters. Her work has appeared in such publications as Edgar Allen Poet Journal and Postcard Shorts, and her short story, "The Glass Orphan," will be featured by The Eunioa Review in April, 2014. Katie won The Voices of Motherhood writing contest, 2011, and is currently completing a collection of short stories. Read more of Katie's work here.