×

SmokeLong Quarterly

Share This f l Translate this page

Quiet Things

Story by Lauren M. Spencer (Read author interview) September 29, 2009

art by Robinson Accola

Where the shadow cuts across the Rose bed, Rachel lies in the hammock, humming in broken parts. I know what the song sounds like and as I work I try to find the words, but then Rachel stops and all I can hear are the cicadas. There are certain summertime things like the glint of orange sun on her forehead, the cupping of her hands around her swollen belly, the odor of Verbena. Things I barely notice anymore, but they are there.

I push the knife around the knob of the wood and watch the blond shavings dust the floorboards and my toenails. Rachel shifts. The hammock groans against her weight as she rocks back and forth. I keep a picture of her in my mind: shes standing in front of a window with her curly red hair, the kind that ignites when the sun hits. Thats the picture I use when I say, “Rachel.”

And when I watch her struggle against the swinging of the hammock, tottering on its edge, I think of those cowboy movies I used to watch with my father and that horse that got shot when it broke its leg. Rachel sighs. She braces herself against the porch railing and pulls her heavy body up from the netting.

“Rachel,” I say. My tongue feels thick. “Rachel,” I say to make sure I said it the first time. It should not be this difficult because, really, Rachel is just a name. It is a wife and a woman and other things. But really, it is just a word.

I hear the padding of her feet as she waddles down the hall behind me. It is just a quiet thing, like the slow whine of a porch swing or the halting breaths of a sleeping child. Dark and blurry, like a photograph held under water, but it is there.

About the Author

Lauren M. Spencer is a writer/vagabond/cowboy who currently lives in Brooklyn, New York. She likes the smell of library books, the color green, and overripe mangoes.

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
ornament

Support SmokeLong Quarterly

Your donation helps writers and artists get paid for their work. If you’re enjoying what you read here, please consider donating to SmokeLong Quarterly today.

SmokeLong Fitness--The Community Workshop

Beginning September 1, 2022! Register Now!

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.