Lil’ Saint Francis
Anna Kim


MirrorHandCelluloid2He was our babe, our idiot, our thimbleful of blood balanced at the top of a white-capped mountain. Something warm and moving. When he was born I tried to put my fingers inside his mouth until our mother took him away. Our father had known about him before he had even been born, because our father was the smartest man I’ve ever known; he had bought out a very big and dilapidated billboard next to the gas station to read THIS IS A PLACE OF SOME HOLY SPECTACLE!!! in script like curling pink ribbon, three exclamation points on the tail like a punchline delivered three times, three days before Kevin fell out of a hole in my mother.

When I was nine and he was five our mother found Lil’ Saint Francis in our room. She rarely entered our room and I still don’t know how she came to find that story among the stacks. But that night, the two of us sat side by side holding each other as she sat across from us in her enormous dark pink armchair, the color of an inflamed liver or a pork chop and told us that we hated her and that she would be leaving us. I was confused because I didn’t hate her. I remembered her sitting in the dark at her tiny toy boudoir holding up her small yellow plastic hand mirror in her tiny toy chair where she sat, or rather balanced, pushing cold cream from the little pots into the skin on her face with her pinprick fingers, tits sagging and towel wrapped into a tiny turban at the top of her head, and I thought I loved her. “Another one,” she would announce triumphantly. “Another of these little lost sheep. Little lost Sheep From Nowhere,” she would say to no one, looking pleased with herself.

But I didn’t say anything, because it was hot, and I was dizzy, and because my tongue could only move thick and sour and slow behind my teeth. When I moved my neck I could feel it creak dully in my ears.

The summer before, Kevin had gone into the woods and sunk the tip of our father’s pen-knife into his palms by himself. I knew the tip didn’t sink immediately, and that there was a moment of resistance from his young flesh that didn’t let itself to opening immediately, but I also knew that it broke after a moment too and that his right hand positively blossomed into it. If I had been there I would have found him in the woods at the top of the hill where we had buried the bodies of countless animals that would appear at his bedside in the mornings and stay with him until they died in the evenings. I would have found him arms spread covered in blood and dirt with a light shining on his face through a space in the trees too bright, strange and unreal and gaudy and that would have made him furious if he had recognized it. But if I had seen his face I would have known that he hadn’t.

But I hadn’t been there. And so it wasn’t him I took home, but his sleeping body, and so hours after the fact we crossed the field as the sun was setting, lighting that field on fire gold gold gold. My arms pulled and shook under the weight of his fat deer’s legs.

Those legs shifted around now, nervous and lovely and moving in dumb, frantic circles. I picked him up again like I had then and carried him upstairs. When I lay him down on my bed in the dark, I heard from below her heel drop on the first step and the front door open, then the screen door, then both shudder and bang closed.

I kissed him on the eyelids in the dark. His breath rose up warm and wet and metallic, like the smell of the room I had walked in to the first time I had found him pleasuring himself, when he had turned beaming at me standing in the doorway, laughing full and clear like a bell.


Anna Kim is 4’11 and allergic to peanuts. She enjoys collecting boy scout uniforms and eating waffle crisp. She currently studies Philosophy at New York University.