Sophie tickles my cheek with her tongue, and I give her my right arm. Like the
Virgin’s mantle sliding over my shoulder, she rolls her muscles to the
drummer’s heartbeat, washing me in light. Mama calls my boa a serpent, and
me a dirty coochie dancer. Jesus lives in covered-dish suppers at the Boaz
Baptist Church. But I believe Jesus lives in Sophie. At the Bottoms Up Bar she
first appeared—eyes milky, scales ghost white. Just slept on a cover under the
sink and refused to eat for six days. On the seventh, clouds evaporated. Clear
dark eyes and bright brown body. Three days later, she rubbed and pushed her
nose against the back screen until the skin broke. All day she pressed against
the linoleum floor, never letting up. At night a translucent ribbon lay on the
quilt—eye caps on top.
This selection comes from Chella Courington’s chapbook Girls & Women, available from Burning River. Contact Chella to purchase your own copy!
Chella Courington is a poet, fiction writer and educator. She’s the author of six chapbooks: Love Letter to Biology 250 (forthcoming from Porkbelly Press), Girls & Women, Talking Did Not Come Easily to Diana, Southern Girl Goes Wrong, Paper Covers Rock, and Flying South (forthcoming from A Kind of Hurricane Press). Her flash fiction has appeared in several anthologies including Up, Do Flash Fiction by Women Writers. Poetry and stories have appeared in numerous anthologies and journals including SmokeLong, Nano Fiction, The Collagist, and Fourteen Hills. She lives in Santa Barbara, CA, with another writer and two cats and teaches at Santa Barbara City College
Andrew Koch’s poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Bluestem, Connotation Press, Mojo, Rust + Moth, and others. Although a Tennessee-native, Andrew presently lives in Spokane, Washington with his wife and cat while teaching literature and pursuing his MFA in Creative Writing at Eastern Washington University.
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