Gone Lawn
a journal of literature
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Gone Lawn 15
Summer, 2014

Featured painting, Riding the Dragon by Leslie Ditto.

Featured Novel Excerpt
New Works

Gabriel Ojeda-Sague

Milk for Lulu with Child

Sickening how, when the water runs in the house, it makes a ringing that brings Mother to tears. She makes eggs like crooked baskets. I can see grease still clinging to the white. Tea screams to get her attention, so I do too. When nothing in the house or the street is peaceful, Lulu's stomach and her little patch of grass are. Mother will never ever ever hear about what's happening to Lulu and that's because she made me promise. With my hair soaked in dew, I told Lulu never ever ever.
Cicadas sleep in circles under our weak tree that Lulu clips angry thoughts off of every Wednesday. When is day gonna look like it used to? It's only been a month since we had purple and orange and good, clear blue. Now, gray. The cicadas will be awake and chirping tomorrow.
At night, I get out. I slip to Lulu's little patch of grass in darkness. Since she cuts the hair off her head, it grows out of the ground, green and wet. Cut hair looks like pepper on her white head.

what do you wanna do with it
i don't care i don't know
who's gonna love it more than me
i don't care i don't know
you can't raise it on a little patch of grass
it doesn't no it doesn't have to

She told me never to eat the berries there, but when I'm hungry she has bread, jam, and juice ready. She makes five dollars from Ms. Aldon, ten dollars from Mr. Brent, ten dollars from Mrs. Endly, five dollars from Mother, and ten from Mr. Roberts. Forty dollars a week for little chores and she can buy bread, jam, and juice for us.
The families on our street already know something is wrong. She can hide her stomach but she can't hide that her parents are gone. Her house is too loud now; she doesn't want to be there alone. Each of the families knows something is wrong with her, but they don't know what, so they still pay her little dollars for bread, jam, and juice.
The air is heavy, wet, and yellow. Mother sits at our pink windows and cries. Her water is ripping holes in the wall.
And today Lulu said she wants it gone and gone.

i don't care i don't know
you don't even know whose and you want it gone
i've had enough i've had enough of it
but i can help you take care of it i want to help you take care of it
it isn't yours and it never will be

She knows that voices would be wild if she went into town to have the whole thing done by doctors, so the next day we go out far past the farms surrounding the town. After her little patch of grass, there are berries, then corn, then wheat, then grass and grass for hours. Blue sky is ruptured by white down for miles. We keep walking together, talking about the little bugs we pass that break the ground and scatter. We walk to the shrieks of cicadas finally free of the soil. The air is light and filled with screams.
We walk until we reach the cliffs. Foam clips rock walls below us, in time with a pounding in my head. Lulu wears white. "We have to sleep here tonight, they said it takes a full day to go through" she says. She opens her backpack and brings out a small blue jar filled with red oil. White flakes, which she tells me are chopped mandrake, float in it. A small wooden spoon hangs off the side of the jar, tied down with yarn. "Just a day, and it'll flush out of me. It'll all be done then."
She spoons the oil little by little into her mouth. It rains all night.
* * *
At night, Marcus comes into my head. And the way his hair bends like cornstalks does terrible things to me.
If he was here with me, no one would find us. The night would grow long and he would know everything I have ever wanted from him and from the soil under my back. The bugs would stop crawling, stop screeching. I have always needed him.
But Mother would never have that. She said never ever ever. No, no, no son of mine.
* * *
I wake up before Lulu. Her hair has grown all the way to her feet, her dirty, naked feet, and under her is a pool of thick blood. She is smiling in her sleep. Words feel balled up in my head. I don't think I have any way of calling this like that or getting words to fit all good how they're supposed to. My sussing it. I am angrier than I have ever been.
I run like hell. There is grass and grass, wheat, corn, berries, grass, and darkness when I reach the gray of our town. I can see Mother from the end of the street. I walk into my house to find her gripping the walls, ripping through plaster. She beats me red and purple. She just wanted me home.
For comfort, I drop radishes into a milk-filled bowl and watch them spin. Three days later, Lulu knocks on our door. Mother lets her in and shows her to my room. "Have you just sat here with that milk and radishes?" she says. I can tell she has not slept since the cliffs and her clothing is still stained red.
"Drink it."
"Why should I?"
"You didn't let me give milk to it. It has to go to someone."
When she starts to sip at it, she pauses and kisses me on the forehead. White drips down my face and to my neck.

Gabriel Ojeda-Sague is a writer and poet based in Philadelphia. His work has also been published in APIARY, Cleaver Magazine, and in the collection JOGS, a conceptual rewriting of the 1977 book The Joy of Gay Sex.