Grief, n. Seven brush fires raged in my little county on Labor Day. On sidewalks, paint spells Careful, but you have to be looking down already to read that. A town on the eastern side of the state is gone now. It took only three days. You know what else happens in three days? Something about Jesus. Someone without water.
Grievance, n. But listen, beloved. We have three cans of soup. Here are our expenses. When we eat the last apple, taste the hundred fingerprints on the waxed skin. Beloved, there might be death on our hands, but today I ask you stay in bed. Here’s the sound of thunder. Here’s the sound of someone breaking in.
Grieve, v. a. n. I was bent over weeping. The woman saw I was safe, then left. I am not grateful. I will not even pretend. These are the hours I have planted nothing. No garden to cultivate. When tomorrow, I awaken, I cannot tell if I hear thunder or someone breaking in. All night in distant cities—glass shattered, shattered again. I don’t want the numbers today. I can’t tell what they mean anymore. They no longer seem to be for the dead. When I was a child my teacher said Tell me which number is bigger. Tell me how it got bigger. I think she kissed somebody when she went home. I think she went home to herself.
Lauren Davis is the author of the forthcoming short story collection The Milk of Dead Mothers (YesYes Books), the poetry collection Home Beneath the Church (Fernwood Press) and the Eric Hoffer Grand Prize short-listed When I Drowned (Kelsay Books), and the chapbooks Each Wild Thing’s Consent (Poetry Wolf Press) and The Missing Ones (Winter Texts). She holds an MFA from the Bennington College Writing Seminars. She is a former Editor in Residence at The Puritan’s Town Crier, and she is the winner of the Landing Zone Magazine’s Flash Fiction Contest. Her work has appeared in numerous literary publications and anthologies including Prairie Schooner, Spillway, Poet Lore, Ibbetson Street, Ninth Letter and elsewhere. Davis lives with her husband and two black cats on the Olympic Peninsula in a Victorian seaport community.