FABLE by Lena Bertone


I looked in the mirror and saw a horse: the long face, the deep cavern below each dark eye, chin pulling down like a pendulum. You'll scare the child, I thought.

The house was dark day and night. I pulled the blinds shut every morning. For months, I slid around in socks and no shirt on. The baby awake for increments and then asleep again, attached to me like an animal and then tucked, ruffled, in her bassinet. I stood half naked in the fridge, wept with yogurt smeared across my chest. At night when I opened the blinds, I exposed myself to the backyard. It sprawled out into forest and ravine. Glass-eyed, I focused on the line of turkeys by the neighbors' gate, gazed on two deer at the salt lick.

What are you looking at, deer?

When visitors came, I put on a stained shirt and let them in. Every one of them had a horse face! They'll scare the child, I thought. They looked at her, contorted, made animal sounds. I didn't know how she could bear it without screaming.


Lena Bertone's stories have appeared recently in Matchbook, Monkeybicycle, and Wigleaf.

Two Blue Women by Maria Kondratiev.
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