Secret Circus

Test Tank

Test Tank

“Breathe,” you whisper. Holding me.

 

The first breath is convulsive, just a reflex, and when it comes, it’s flour and molasses in Granny’s porcelain bowl, stirring. I clutch and reach.

 

“Breathe,” you insist, and remove your mask, to show me how.

 

The second breath is my own, the sound of rainwater in a drainpipe. I raise myself against your arm and lean, and when you reach under my ribs and pull me up against your chest, brine pours from my mouth. I heave, coughing and spitting, but the taste is not bitter. I want it back.

You Can Do Anything

You Can Do Anything

Lowercase v-a-g-i. Capital N. Lowercase a.

 

“Can she read?” The policeman asks.

 

He asks it like I can’t hear, like I’m not right there, sitting on my father’s lap. I want to tell the policeman that there is no time in my memory when I could not read, that there was never a time when I couldn’t put the letters together and throw myself into any world offered to me and disappear, but I stay quiet.

 

“Yes, she can read,” my father answers.