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Arrows

Story by Lydia Copeland (Read author interview) September 29, 2009

art by Robinson Accola

No one knows about the jaws in the barn, worn and white and cool as pudding. Nor the rabbits nest in the mulberry bush. Nor the owls which rally together to take our cats one by one. No one knows about the black snakes we catch and refer to as pythons. We wander around all summer. We find these things. There are two of us. I love him, but one day he will punch me in the stomach and that will be it. Right now we sit in sunlight in the roofless barn, drawing arrows on his arms that point to me. We play house in the buildings on my parents’ land. We empty the old WD40 cans into the walls until all the rooms have an oily sheen. We play garden in the fields. He braids my hair out there, puts the earrings in my earlobes, dresses me like a woman. Every evening we hear my father’s snare drum in the distance. He is in the attic with his trap set, and there are no ears except ours and my mother’s to hear him. When were apart I think of him and want him to watch me lifting the arm on the record player, loading the towels in the washer, chopping my mother’s vegetables for one of her time-saver meals. I want him then in an armchair pressing tobacco into a pipe, striking a match, blowing rings of smoke onto my fingers.

About the Author

Lydia Copeland’s stories have appeared in Glimmer Train, Quick Fiction, Pindeldyboz, elimae, Dogzplot, and others. Her chapbook, Haircut Stories, is available from the Achilles Chapbook series and as part of the chapbook collective, Fox Force 5 from Paper Hero Press. She works in Manhattan and lives in New Jersey with her husband and son.

About the Artist

Robinson Accola creates artwork for SmokeLong Quarterly as needed.

This story appeared in Issue Twenty-Six of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly Issue Twenty-Six
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Starting September 1, SmokeLong will launch a workshop environment/community christened SmokeLong Fitness. This asynchronous community workshop will happen on our dedicated workshop site. You will work in small groups of around 10 participants to give and receive feedback. Each Monday, you will receive a new writing task (one writing task each week) designed by the senior editor team of SmokeLong. The core workshop is asynchronous, so you can take part from anywhere at anytime. We are excited about creating a supportive, consistent and structured environment for flash writers to work on their craft.