Just as the men were about to prick off Seth’s fingers one by one, lights shone in the dark, in the vineyards, in trees that were mangled, but once inviting, and the air was warm and blue and bleating under a lattice of tempered stars, so when the lights came, the three men ran away, leaving him there in a bed of dust, black-haired crown busted and bleeding, a bruised prince, in khakis and belt buckle and white t-shirt soaked with sweat and piss, with his eyes half shut, still trying to count a of multitude of gem cut leaves, his ears seeking the low hum of many insects, and then his eyes more shut, closed, falling into a long black gape, and now he could look as still as stone, or obelisk, like a pillar in bright blue hospital sheets, but he is breathing, alive, in a deep deep sleep, where every hum of him, every bruise is bloomed and attuned to that sterile digital beat, and if he slept one hundred years, and then woke up, he would still remember every stich of muscle and bone, every girl body and eye, and the way his daughter laughed like a silver bell, and the way he climbed chain-linked fences to get to the most beautiful one, and the way that he had laced all his sunshine with thorns, and he would remember the way that warm gasoline smells on his skin, and the way his own blood tastes in his mouth, and he would remember, very clearly remember, a bird pecking shoes on a telephone wire, and the way that he tricked girls into loving him, into carving his name on bathroom stalls and bleachers, but until then, he is like that thing wrapped up in cocoon, waiting, waiting for a day, for someone to save him.
Monique Quintana holds an MFA in Creative Writing from CSU Fresno, where she was the president of the Chicanx Writers and Artists Association. She is a Squaw Valley Writers Fellow, and was the Senior Associate Fiction Editor of The Normal School literary magazine. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Huizache, Bordersenses, Lunch Ticket, Ragazine, Madcap Review, and Heather Press, among others. She is the editor-in-chief of razorhousemagazine.com.
Artwork: Antonio Mora, “Juncos”