She listened with one eye. A comic verse of irregular measure. The thermostat set to fifty-four degrees. I don’t see a home, I see a butcher shop. I see naked rooms without furniture. Bathroom floor with bibles for tiles. A kitchen with last year’s calendar, colanders for draining all that is sacred, all that is holy, and cookie cutters shaped like faces of villains we once we’ve been to each other. I see bodies hanging among the copper pots. Every knife serrated, every drawer filled with more drawers. O the earth’s buttery crust. O the shocking whiteness of blood. We communicate through walls, carve blessed tautologies into each other’s skin, we speak a code embedded in undulating bed sheets. Your kisses, your touch, you core me like an apple swollen with the juice of a thousand orchards.

14 Comments

  1. Meg Tuite

    Hi Todd! Yes, to creating sentences that live their own lives! These are exceptional! “I don’t see a home, I see a butcher shop.” “Bathroom floor with bibles for tiles.” ” O the earth’s buttery crust. O the shocking whiteness of blood. ” “Your kisses, your touch, you core me like an apple swollen with the juice of a thousand orchards.” All of it! Now work it with your own first sentence and send this beauty out! Absolutely LOVE!

  2. Meg Tuite

    My only suggestion: Work in a title that is also its own world, but lifts the lid on the piece. Excellent work!

  3. Meg Tuite

    like faces of villains we once we’ve been to each other. ‘were’? instead of ‘we’ve been’
    just read this again.

    • Todd Clay Stuart

      Thanks, Meg! I noticed that too after I posted it. Couldn’t find a way to edit the piece.

  4. Koss Just Koss

    Love this Todd–especially “Bathroom floor with bibles for tiles,” but the entire thing is great.

  5. Georgiana Nelsen

    So tight and sharp and insistent! love this Todd. Here: O the shocking whiteness of blood….I wonder what it is about the whiteness of blood? I think Robert had white blood in his piece too, and yes, it does shock! Wonderful writing.
    G

    • Todd Clay Stuart

      Thanks for the feedback, Georgina! I think for me the whiteness of blood, at least in the context of this little story, springs somewhere from the image of a single drop of blood on a white sheet or tee-shirt perhaps. It’s also something I just liked the sound of. Thanks for asking. ~Todd

  6. Robert Vaughan

    Hi Todd, I also wrote a piece utilizing Meg’s same prompt this morning. Love your entire piece, such spare, tight and magnetic items included. I also think you could definitely get this piece published if you modify that first line. Bravo!

    • Todd Clay Stuart

      Thank you so much, Robert. It’s been a while since I sent actually sent anything out. Though I have a stack of things. I appreciate the encouragement!

  7. Jacqueline Doyle

    Great use of anaphora, Love the “earth’s buttery crust” and the juicy closing images.

  8. Sara Comito

    Hi Todd, I admire the pacing of this, with short sentences to start, and longer, more driving sentences that lend a more urgent tone. And I love the off-kilter symmetry of: I don’t see a home, I see a butcher shop. And knives inside drawers inside drawers. How recursively dreamlike!

  9. Aimee Parkison

    Todd, the landscape of this piece is so powerfully rendered. Culturally, there’s something rather southern about its images, the connection between religious aspects like the bible and the violence of the knives. Powerful writing!

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