Molia Dumbleton

The last time, he thrust torso through window, leaned across seat to send you away, again, with a kiss, again—hand still on stick shift, your forehead hard on his—then barefoot down sidewalk, past the murder laundromat.

The last time, he had cut his face. Sealed himself inside. Surprised you when door cracked, wrapped, naked, in crisp, white down, scooped you into hollow space, impossible, empty paradise of stopped clock, white walls, fed you apple slices and nothingness, away, a way. Whispered riddles to your knees, made you laugh until your cheeks breathed tears, cooler than your skin.

The last time, he filled your arms, plants in a cardboard box, car keys, pictures of his old dead dog. Sketched box upon box for you, just as he’d stacked them, and what was in each one when he’d left it in the alley for the taking. Fed you tomatoes, sliced from his garden, yanked the roots up, grinning.

The last time, he read to you from manic pages, chest fluttering with ashes, ears closed to sound unless you grabbed his face, held hard, moved your mouth until he saw you. He slept like a weight, like a clasp. You didn’t; you knew the blood of it, the pulse in his muscles while yours cramped to slide away, outlast, go to the rooftop, wrap his down around you, turn your neck to sky.

Molia Dumbleton’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Kenyon Review Online, New England Review, Witness, Hobart, Monkeybicycle, Bartleby Snopes, and The Seattle Review. In 2013, she was awarded First Prize in the Seán Ó Faoláin International Short Story Competition. She holds an MA in Creative Writing from Northwestern University and teaches Creative Writing at DePaul University’s School for New Learning.