Buying enough barrettes was hard. All day long the cats dropped litters of kittens in the closets and the faucets ran dry. What we thought was novelty shined like the sharp edge of a scalpel, the surgeons table
where we'd all undress and wait for hands. On our thighs, on our throats. The man in Augustus who offered us a soda for a peak beneath our skirt. Everything hurt in those days, my sister with her dead ear,
the whirl of colors when I closed my eyes and lay down on the bed. Between the two of us, we could easily get out a sentence, but rarely did it include no. Something that almost split but didn't tingling
in our spines. For the longest time, our mother called us different names, but now we answer to the same. To the drain of lights out on the street and the sequence of backseats. In trouble, they'd
smirk from behind the drugstore counter. But double throated and swollen we'd hobble through the aisles with our heads high. The child inside, double tongued and thickening.
I Was Big Foot's Love Slave
At first we were happy in the woods. Pine sap and endless games of backgammon. How he'd roll me into his body while sleeping. The creep of moss
across the floor up over our bodies. The perks in dating a secretive man, the secrets hidden in plain sight. The dog that belonged to him, but didn't. The fog that gathered
when we fucked, always on the floor. The women he loved before, all sirens and witches, and me, so human, So typical. So angry when mud stained the sheets and squirrels
nested in the rafters. So happy to be adored, I'd wash the cave until my fingers bled. Squash the insects that crawled from his fur with my red heels, but still
he'd drag the deer he'd hunted, bloody, back our bed. Sometimes he'd hide in the closet to pretend he didn't exist. The dog would disappear for days.
-- A writer and book artist, Kristy Bowen is the author of a number of artist books, chapbooks, and zines, as well as the recent SEX & VIOLENCE (Black Lawrence Press, 2020.) She lives in Chicago and runs dancing girl press & studio.