from the cutting room floor

I’m working on a short story that I think is called “Sunshowers.” It’s really slow going. I think this won’t be in it, but I like it anyway.

I launder Keisha’s clothes at the hospital and throw them out with all the other rags and shrouds ruined by the touch of substances never meant to leave the body. I have a series of thoughts, philosophical and literal in an uncertain mix: The body breaks like glass breaks, screaming. The body lashes out when it breaks, blighting everything it touches. The body speaks when it breaks; blood howls its exile, bright as bells. The only thing blood doesn’t stain is skin. Stain is history, and skin spurns history. Skin is immemorious. Skin bathes in blood and forgets. The porcelain carapace of our shower will remember Keisha’s husband’s blood longer than her skin will. You can pull the blood from the body and the vessels will be a white web, innocent as plastic. I look straight at the sun, not thinking, and it doesn’t even leave an afterimage. I think of a book I read a long time ago, written when nuclear winter was a bigger threat than global warming, about a world where you could look directly at the dying red sun in the twilight of what passed for noon. I’m destroying evidence of a murder, and I tell myself that it’s because I know he had it coming, but that isn’t true. If it were true I would have pressed Keisha on it, I would have tried to be sure. But the truth is that I don’t care if it was the blood of thirteen nuns on her clothes. We take care of each other. That’s all I know and all I need to know.

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