Drawing Mannequin Mischief in monochrome. Subtle sidekick, sleek home of souls. Cold conjuror, no-face freedom. No life out of reach. The Pasta Hour Late walk, home again. Dark sky above, weak legs beneath. Fifteen-minute era of Waiting, Watching, and Stirring . . . To be rewarded with chewy-salty Victory, butter-cheese-fork Relief, calorie-laden Defiance, primal-unconditional Devotion. The Fire I come not from one house, but three. House Number One was festive, dependable, full of sweet dreams and hypotheticals that I shrugged off. House Number Two was empty, frigid and aloof, stripped to its skeleton, and infected with smoke. House Number Three was recuperating in the balm of springtime and accepting, sheepishly, the cardboard boxes that held its Number One face. Winter Body It’s 4:30 in December. Our heads are full of clouds. Our limbs are collecting the sky’s iron. Only now can we drift while PLODding. A crowbar for my sagging eyelids, if you please. The mighty Apathy bears us each an exoskeleton in place of a drive. Mother Bear I used to bury my eyes in blind, piggish books. I heard you were in the index under “C” (for “child”) and that the numbered diagrams were like “Where’s Waldo?” But, of course, you (the one, the only) were nowhere to be found. So my cockeyed bliss handed in its badge. Mystery hardened around my head. Unknowns built a nest inside me. Time passed, now I live inside the nest. Together we writhe, you, the unknowns, and I. The current is its own beast. You ask me why I swim, what joined our ankles, what made your victories mine. Simply put, my map needs your footprints. Wild you are, proud, the last of your kind. I swim for your earth and air, for your feet and wings. I swim for you to choose, for us to win. The Exchange You raised your voice, I raised an eyebrow. You burned my library, I combed your archives. You rummaged in your trick-bag, I waited. Arms akimbo. You turned one last forlorn look on me . . . I smiled. I boxed you up. I kicked you down the stairs.
Julia Franklin was born in Cambridge, England, and has had a passion for writing, drawing, and traveling from a tender age. Now a grad student at Oakland University, she plans to one day teach elementary education and imbue her students with a love of the arts. She lives with her parents, brother, and lop-eared rabbit. This is her second feature on The Fictional Café. You can read her first here.