She wakes in breaks, in pieces of light, with the night tattered by tight little pulls. She was dreaming something, a reverie of purpose and aim. What was it? Running, chasing, being chased? Her life is a race. She wishes she had better lung capacity. Her breasts are so large, her nipples lovely tan pucks, but her rib cage is hollow and cracked in hard-to-reach places. She wonders if her life is a lie. At the most, it feels like a sham. If she looked into a mirror she would see two new wives, brides, neither one so pretty or thin, but still young, yes, their skin cookie sheet-smooth. She has this to offer him, just this, her corporeal self, and so she rolls into the warm, bent cave of his spine. She tents the blanket with an elbow working, traces the bumps, the kite-tail bone that holds him in place. If she removes a disc, would he crumble? Has he ever? She bites her lip. Ripe. She will not cry, there are no tears for this sort of thing, yet she needs him to wake and to take her in his arms, and she needs someone, you perhaps, to understand why she cannot be brave.

LEN KUNTZ lives on a lake in rural Washington State with three pesky beavers and an eagle. Over one hundred of his stories appear in various lit journals like Right Hand Pointing, Troubadour 21, BlinkInk and at


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