Carlie at 17 and 30
Carlie at 17:
Carlie’s organs are made of pig iron. The connectors, intestinal, esophageal, Eustachian, are lead,
green corruption at their joints. She was made strong by Russian ancestors, but not made to last.
She’s rusting on the inside and her female organs are doing something down there, she doesn’t know what.
She is only seventeen but already menopausal.
Three years of sex was all she’d had before this disaster befell her, erasing her maternal
fantasies. But boys still crawl in her bedroom window, the sex as mechanical as heavy-metal
drumming, but satisfying all the same.
Carlie at 30:
She cut out alcohol, then caffeine. Unable to drink her beloved tea, a gift from the Queen, she
took to slicing open teabags and burning the contents in her aromatherapy infuser. Now she’s
burning coffee as well, high-tone blends from Malaysia, Ethiopia, South America . She lives in a
new atmosphere, a fog of stimulants. She turns on her father’s old console TV (her engineer
brother has a flat screen as big as a wall) and watches an Italian chef throw pizza pies into the air.
Her cat wears a chronically peeved expression. He wonders if it’s too late to become feral,
already his fate in two of nine alternative universes.
Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois lives in Denver and has had over twelve hundred of his poems and fictions appear in literary magazines in the U.S. and abroad. He has been nominated for numerous prizes. His novel, Two-Headed Dog, based on his work as a clinical psychologist in a state hospital, is available on Kindle and Nook, or as a print edition.