Flats Like White Elephants.

By Alexandra Weiss.

“Peggy, why don’t you come shopping with us in the morning?

Party Anthem For One by Nina Ždanovič.

“Peggy, why don’t you come shopping with us in the morning?”

“Yeah, Sis, let us know so we can finalize our plans.”

“No thanks, you two go.”

“But it’d make you feel better, to have something nice to wear.”

“Something cute.”

“I don’t think so, guys”

“Come on, Peg, you used to love going shopping with us.”

“It’s not like it’s that different.”

She shuts up at a glare from across the dinner table. Crickets interrupted by chewing. Peggy slices her chicken with rage, gripping the knife like one grabs an IV pole for balance, desperate, white-knuckled.

“You know you have options, Peggy. Maybe if you thought about…just for sometimes, or with certain outfits, it could help your confidence.”

“Mom, please.”

“I’m just reminding you that you have options, and that a lot of women wear them, even some who haven’t had-”

“I said no, can we please change the subject?”

“Ok, ok.”

But the lines around her lipstick harden. An owl hoots in the canyon. Peggy can’t think of anything else to talk about either. She pulls at the collar of her dress, noticing her scars are visible through the neckline.

“Peg?”

“What, mom?”

“Never mind.”

 

                                                                                                                            

The Blood Pudding – September 4, 2020

Alexandra Weiss is a graduate student researching how literature discusses science, illness and mortality. She’s been previously published in Haggard and Halloo, Cadaverine, Wildfire, and Another Chicago Magazine, among others, and has a poem forthcoming in the September 2020 Plants & Poetry digital chapbook.

Nina Zdanovic is originally from Vilnius, Lithuania, and is currently based in Tokyo. Her work reflects her belief that humans don’t live in an objective world, that the reality that surrounds us always reflects what we are going through. She explores how our memories, thoughts, and experiences affect how we perceive reality and searches for the intersection between the real and mystical, between the inner and the outer worlds. You can find her and buy her work at ninazdanovic.com.