Nonfiction from Hannah Cajandig-Taylor
My knuckle scrapes dry bark. I am searching for wolves where I know there are no wolves. This skin pales, my eyes bloodshot as targets, the gangly forest stretching up & up, its needled arms stories off the ground. From the underbrush riddled with sharp teeth & knifelike jaws. I see a god in the trees. In a bouquet of Bigtooth Aspens nestled deep in the woods. This is the one where my neck always aches but at least the sky looks roomy. Where my husband goes pillow shopping & brings home a cloudblue one for side sleepers. That’s the honest, technical term for it: creatures that lie with stomach & spine exposed, one ear pressed against the earth. Did you know the pillow was meant for me. Did I give that away too early. Is it obvious how I’ve been reading Adrienne Rich in the tub of my rental apartment, curtains half-way shut, soaking in oatmeal to quiet the itch flanking my shoulder blades. A part of my body I cannot reach. The length of me that aligns with the wall when measuring height, like when I was small but not that small & our inches & ages were penciled inside my grandparent’s walk-in pantry until the day they got facelifts & lied about it & changed out the sacred space for alabaster cabinets, promising to save the physical mythography of our growth & not lying about that.
The wall still exists. Maybe. I’ve never seen it.
This is the tale of the firefly girl adorned in ripped denim waltzing barefoot across the floorboards. No gilded pages. Just an echo of my hands on a bed of razor blades. The one where things get messy. An abundance list for the girls who never rest, who are little & red & dream their towers into crumbling.
Hannah Cajandig-Taylor is a poet and flash writer residing in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, where she reads for Passages North and Fractured Lit. Her proudest accomplishment is completing almost every Nancy Drew PC game in existence. She is the author of ROMANTIC PORTRAIT OF A NATURAL DISASTER (Finishing Line Press, 2020). Find her on Twitter @hannahcajandigt.