2 October 2008 | Vol. 8, No. 3


There was something about the way Toland just hung there in the closet that suggested to Harlan she had for him some very good news. Is it my hair?, she asked. Harlan looked at its fetish of brown loops and decided it was not, after all, her hair that made him think she had for him some very good news. Is it my wrists? She held out like breadsticks her two pale arms. Harlan braced himself. He paced the dark room and soul-searched, and when that did not work he sought diversion in a kit of unrequited thread Toland had provocatively arranged in his trousers. Is it my knees?, she asked, bending like unset wax the pleats of her legs. But Harlan just stood in front of the wide empty closet and stared. Is it, she asked finally, the miracle? So Harlan held the crying ball of yarn that Toland had winters ago wound in her abdomen. And he thread into a needle its puzzle of body and sewed from it garments of hair, wrists, and knees, and then hung them one by one on the naked hangers. But something was incomplete. Is it my hips? Toland whispered, not wanting to wake the miracles. Harlan sewed a garment of hips. Is it my ankles? Is it my mouth? Harlan sewed a garment of ankles and mouth. He sewed and sewed until he had hanging in his empty closet all the parts of his Toland. But something was incomplete. Is it my heart? Only one tiny thread of miracle remained, so Harlan sewed with it all her parts together, in her chest inserted a box of crayons. But something was incomplete. Is it my lungs?, she coughed, gasping for air, and Harlan opened like a shimmering clam his Toland and inserted next to the crayons a wheel. The wheel began to spin. So Harlan spun. Together they made in their spinning a hive of buzzing colors. Then Harlan said "let's celebrate!," and they named one by one all their different colors. But there was one color they could not name. Is it red?, mouthed Toland. Harlan picked her up with his two knitting needles and held her like a tissue to his face. "No," he said, "it isn't." Toland smiled. In the whole wide world there never again was a question that didn't make Harlan think of the very good news.

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About the author:

Kim Gek Lin Short's chapbook, The Residents, is part of the dancing girl press 2008 series. Her work has appeared in journals such as Caketrain and Crab Orchard Review, and was selected by Kate Northrop among the Mad Poet's Review 2007 contest winners. Visit her online at www.kimgeklinshort.com.

For further reading:

See the complete list of work by Kim Gek Lin Short at 42opus. Browse the contents of 42opus Vol. 8, No. 3, where "FAQ" ran on October 2, 2008. List other work with these same labels: poetry, prose poem.

42opus is an online magazine of the literary arts.

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