Upon Hearing Female Dragonflies Fake Their Own Deaths to Avoid Males, I Consider Wendy Peffercorn
Wendy saw Squints dying and went down for a breath. A poor glittering fish, he pulled up quiet from the water. She prodded his belly with an acrylic nail and the nail sunk and the flesh sprung back, but the boy didn’t start coughing.
In the corner already, someone is composing a eulogy. Remembered for nothing in particular, it isn’t long.
Wendy listens for a heart. Something inside must be telling her to move to the mouth and she, blonde hair taken by the wind behind her, leans down, 14, blows hot air into his mouth.
She imagines that he is a pool float. She imagines that this is practice, and the smell of his mouth is new plastic instead of bacteria and death.
She’s gone for his heart again and in the interim, her head on his stomach, the dead thing winks.
And the stillness of his limbs and the quiet of the boys allow the dead to be dead, or nearly.
And Wendy is mouth to his mouth again, and his hands, so well-behaved, shift into her hair, her tanned shoulders--
Wendy paints her toes fire-engine red on the arm of the lifeguard stand.
From her tower, Wendy watches rows of dead boys, come to fall at her feet.
-- Rhosalyn Williams is a writer, waitress, and teacher. She was born in Wales, grew up in Florida, and currently lives in New Hampshire, where she earned an MFA from the University of New Hampshire.