A group of seven children were gathered in a forest at night. It was cold outside. The moon was there. The children were sweet and harmless, not a bit angry. Their faces were not sticky with honey. A girl with red hair stood holding a glass terrarium in her extended arms, displaying the object to six of her quietest friends. Seven children were in a forest at night. They were worshipping a Red Head and her Reality. They were frightened kneeling, hair tied in white ribbon. Wind made the ribbons hop! The children laughed and settled in an arc at the Owner’s feet. The Owner’s hair was red. She did not have an erection.
Red Head: Look inside my cube, girls. Come here, girls.
Shyly, each stood to approach the Red Head’s terrarium, crawling a bit on bare knees. When a girl stood, her knees loosened like old foreskin, kind of wet. One girl’s knees held lightly onto a small piece of mulch. She stood for a while, staring lowly at the Red Head and then the piece of mulch fell back onto the ground.
A girl at the back had her hands tucked up underneath her blouse and was holding her breasts with cold hands
One girl’s ears were so small she could not tuck back her hair
One girl was more afraid than all the others
Somewhere in the distance a man was wilting at the foot of a tall woman with thin ankles. He was trying to weep but it hurt too badly, so he gave up.
Red Head: It’s all going to be ok
Pulling the black curtains aside, this is what each girl saw:
A medium-sized brown horse was lost in a dark forest. The moon was there. It was the beginning of summertime and she, thirsty and missing home, went out looking for a Wise Old Puddle that she’d visited in the past. Drunk and in heat, she was a crazy woman, but could remember how nice this puddle was last year: the coolest sip! For now, she was lost and frightened in the moonlit woods.
Female Horse: (to the yellow moon) Ok, I have seen this happen to many girls on television. I know that it is very easy to escape the woods. I hate the woods. In order to escape, I must pretend to be helpless! When I appear helpless, a far away male will come running because he knows that I will let him fuck me in return for saving my life. He will be good enough. When he arrives I will not tell him that I’m a lesbian because if I don’t get the fuck out of these woods I’ll never see my wife again anyways!
Then again, perhaps the male will want me more if I tell him that I am a lesbian.
Men who want lesbians are suicidal.
Horse’s Conscience to Herself: Shut the hell up. Let the man come or we will die!
Female Horse: I will die if I will never see my wife again! If I never see my wife again, then I am no longer a lesbian. If I am no longer a lesbian, then there is no point to living. If there is no point to living, then I am suicidal.
While the animal contemplated how to escape the forest, other mammals were hunting and killing each other. A soft gray squirrel was bashing a nut on an oak tree. A mother wolf looked up from smacking inside of a deer’s hollow carcass. Three male beavers sat lazily by a river, waiting to be eaten. They tried kissing, but it hurt too badly, so they gave up. They tried crying, but their tears didn’t get the message.
At the foot of a stump, a kind elderly worm had just died. Her only daughter wept, lurching and crying out. She was looking at her mother’s corpse. For her, this was the worst thing that could possibly have happened. Her mother had died! Her skin felt dry. She vomited in the dirt, she cursed the metal earth, and she screamed her mother’s name so loudly that she died.
She had no daughter there to call her name
She had no daughter there to wipe her tears
She had no daughter there to hold her as she died alone in the dirt
Female Horse: Help! Things are dying all around me! I am very frightened and I do not like being in pain! Loneliness is beginning to set in. I am helpless now. This isn’t funny anymore. How do I forget being lost?
Maybe I can enjoy the moon.
Maybe I would not mind dying.
Maybe I should die while I am still without a daughter
[The Horse notices a low-lying gray wall in the distance]
Female Horse: I think I will go break my two front legs on that old gray wall.
Gray Wall: You are a very beautiful horse. Come here, baby, I have something you want.
The horse tried to focus on the pale stone barricade, vision giving out. She worried about what her wife would think about all of this (she was not very kind). Pieced with sharp slate, the wall emitted a pulse and vibrated. The horse swayed, nearly drunk, her eyes goin’ fuckin’ haywire. Bridle and bit soggy with green foam, pulled at her cheek flesh stretching it downward and revealing new eye whites, normally fleshed and lidded. For a moment, the horse’s eyes went completely blank.
[A leather saddle hung from the top branch of a nearby pine tree]
The horse deciding that she was not suicidal or even sad at all, gave up and walked right out of the forest. She pressed her swollen belly against an oak tree and closed her eyes, panting with boredom.
Female Horse: That is much better. Does anyone have some ice? Anyone? I would still not mind dying.
[Sheets of groomed white smoke rolled in to sheath the horse’s hooves]
Smoke: (rolling, fat) Don’t move! Don’t move! Don’t move! Put your hands where I can see them!
Everyone held very still except for the horse, who would soon be shot. She walked for now, handless. Rounding a corner in the road, the horse found her puddle! The puddle was new, as never seen before (not even on television). The puddle was a dry pit of red clay in a suburban lawn.
Female Horse: (panting slobber wobbling) Poor puddle! You have changed! This is sad. I can no longer see a Horse in you and, therefore, I have become both of us. I’m not in love with you anymore. My eyes are two white dinner plates. Sit on me, mama?
Puddle: Were you there to hold me when I died?
[Then someone shot the horse because she had not obeyed the rules]
Masked in bit and eye leather laying bloated in a yard, the Sad Horse turned her snout toward an apple, which was many miles away. The apple was yellow with brown speckles, floating in a silver bucket of cold water.
[The horse died without a mother]
Sad Apple: I want to die too.
A few miles down the road, a frail Grey Little Granny was in her kitchen baking an apple pie. In a few minutes her daughter would be arriving for supper! The sun had begun to set over her perfect front lawn. The distant trees looked just like the black paper shadow puppets that her mother always made at Christmas time. She paused to gaze out of a dirty window, untied her checkered apron and draped it over a wooden chair. Her sugary hands reached up the front of her blouse to hold two sagging breasts. Smiling, the Grey Little Granny remembered her favorite horse, Betty, given to her as a child as a birthday present. Betty died 50 years ago in a tragic accident. On her twentieth birthday, she found Betty swollen and lying in a dry pit of red clay, her tongue hanging like a reed. As the Granny remembered this, a blue tear rested on her eye, bulging and ready to slip.
Then the doorbell rang so she got over it. She was so excited to see her daughter! She walked to answer the door and held her child sweetly for a moment. The child held her mother sweetly for a moment.
Lying in the cold lawn outside, a lonely Worm was crying under a cinderblock.
It was all too much.
She was sad because she had forgotten everything that was worth remembering.
about aprons, warmth, the curvature of pink work, a sugary Apple Pie, side saddle country rides, hair, classical music, voices, children, perfume, needlepoint, and also silence, too.
About white flowers Too
About cinnamon mittens and cinnamon mittens
Ginko printed napkins
And the rest of nice things Too
RRLEW is a multimedia artist and writer based in Providence, RI.