Lady by Len Kuntz

She speaks in barbwire, sharp twists of metal. When she breathes, it’s through her mouth so her tongue shows ebony in a pool of oil. She sings nursery rhymes about dismembered animals, dancing corpses, bones banging bones. She dreams of another world where people might think her normal.

As a child she liked to read. Just as there are some things that shouldn’t be seen, there are those that mustn’t be read. Her brothers gave her magazines with monsters in them, men gnawing on women, women on women. They told her she could be eaten, too. They said they would show her.

In front of a mirror, she always focuses on her eyes. Off center of the black dot is a fleck which is really a door. Once upon a time it was a trapdoor, but now she imagines it opens up into the black-sheeted sky, to another galaxy with good mysteries, lacking evil.

The bus driver shakes his head when she tries to sneak behind a suit. It’s December, bitter cold. There’s a heat vent she sometimes sleeps on, but some boys found her once. They had metal bracelets around their fingers and they took turns. It was like her brothers all over. That is where the black oil came from, that is why she speaks through barbwire, her words crumbled Blue cheese.

“Yo, bag lady!” a kid screams.

He’s got that right; she’s a lady. Even now, she still is.

But just to be safe, she runs anyway.


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Filed under Len Kuntz

13 responses to “Lady by Len Kuntz

  1. So dark and tragic. :(

  2. Nicolette Wong

    wow. dark stuff. really like the story behind it though.

  3. You create such darkness with mastery, not an easy skill accomplished, yet you have such finesse with these tragic characters who leave a lasting impact long after reading. I am awestruck.

  4. derin

    Wow, I cried. Still teary. What people do to people.

  5. yes, Len you’ve got a gift for bringing the reader close to dark and sharp edged worlds…and in such a small scope of words, you’ve brought this life, wrapped in wire, and held us to that embrace

  6. John Riley

    Powerfully written with a great ending. An entire life in so few words. A very moving story.

  7. Leah

    so tragic. i love the sliver of hope in “he’s got that right; she’s a lady.” well done.

  8. Alexandra Pereira

    wow.. what a life.. what power in expressing it. Hits you deep..

  9. love the dignity you left her with. gorgeous real stuff, len — thanks for keeping it honest. peace…

  10. Andrew

    Great stuff, as always, Len.

  11. Pingback: Week #46 – Another world | 52|250 A Year of Flash

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