Diane loved anything orange
—cats, lipstick, hunting vests, nail polish, hard hats, life jackets, water guns.
When she slipped through her mother’s legs, almost butting the doctor’s
stomach, her skin turned a yellowish red. I did crave pumpkin, her mother said.
Before my water broke, I ate a whole pie, crust and all. It took eleven days of
being rubbed in olive oil and resin, her mother’s fingers lightly massaging
Diane’s new skin that capitulated to air in March before trout season, before
her father deserted them for Pennsylvania streams. Her eighth Halloween she
painted her nose and toes tangerine and swathed herself in a sheet, RIT-dyed
sunshine orange, that her mother soaked in white vinegar until the bleeding
stopped. Even then in third grade, she knew what they didn’t. How we climb
into our wombs at night, sheets over our heads and wait for the water to float
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.