long division

a magazine of inquiry & art

13 Roadside Attractions

Images by Joann Schoepflin.  Words by Joy Surles.

And it is holy. Wholly separate, from the moment we enter the world, pushing past our mothers and taking our first breaths. Behind bars, we are free. On a prairie, we are in chains. We are enmeshed alone, in love, and waving. Drowning. They had established a community of mutual ownership. In their network, they shared values as well as resources. All members live together in a specific locality, and generally, they live peaceably among one another. But then, there was him. 

The beast bore down again, its great, horned head honing in on the invader. It was rutting season, and it was particularly testy about its territory.  Behind it, the flowers bloomed. He could taste the way she walked, thighs swishing.  He could hear it, too, the rhythm of her moving. There was fire between them and everywhere. 

He took another sip of his drink, and then, it all faded to black. You might not have even noticed if it hadn't been so painful. The puncture wound was clean, but aggressive. It left a mark, barely noticeable, but the inflammation was profound. The throbbing pain persisted much longer than you might have expected. That's the nature of it. She reached for him. 

Beneath her cap, she had no hair. Her hunger was endless and repetitive, separate from him. It felt like running underwater, and that was ok. He had not understood how well he'd come to recognize that smile. It was a lovely, symmetrical, grimace.  It remained the same through the years. 

And whenever they embraced, he swore he could smell blood. 

One pushes. One pulls. The constant struggle creates friction and occasionally blisters. The red spots clustered around her thighs, and she did not know what it meant.  She called him, but he couldn't answer. He was gone, ensconced.


Images ©Joann Schoepflin. Text ©Joy Surles.