Gone Lawn
a journal of literature
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Gone Lawn 3
Spring, 2011

Featured painting, Bumper Cars, by Heather Watts.

Featured Excerpts
New Works

Alana I Capria

The Bride Resists the Chamber

[For there was a door.] [For there was a door and he insisted she step inside.] Poor bride. When she was young, she let old men touch beneath her skirts. She didn't know better. It was hard for her to think. [And the closet door remained her only witness.] It wanted her to remember the ax heads and skull faces. [Even when she said no.] [Especially then. Because she could not breathe from the pail.] It injured her chopping block lungs. Twice a day, she climbed into the closet and bawled until the beard came back. {Then, she could not think. The hairs gathered around her face and pulled the flesh sharply.} And from the distance, the sacred mother rode bareback to save her. [There were ornate times and the air smelled of patchouli and grease, the thick musk of the beard's balls and all the sweat stains rolling off the back. [So she went into the closet and pulled the door shut.] [She didn't need a key. Her fingers were keys and she was the beauty meant to break apart the molten iron lock.]

The bride eats her keys with hard-boiled eggs. They go down, still shelled. [The keys are her salt load. It is like eating directly from the mine.] Off to the side, Bluebeard licks a coastal plain from deep inside his tremendous closet. [Blood closet?] [No. Closet, closet.] [The groom's favorite closet. He kisses the sheets and plugs his nose with hangers.] [They are iron hangers. Solid steel. Razor wire support brackets.] Alone in his chamber, Bluebeard crochets marrow into his knees. He creaks when he walks. His bride plaits sanity throughout her hair. Sanity is a neon blue tapeworm three feet long. It bites her head and threads its long body around the ax handle. [Bluebeard despises the worms.] [The tapeworms hate the Bluebeard.] They argue over the dinner table. The Bluebeard and the worms. Not the wife. She has no reason to argue over the ax. She has already passed the bread and egg taste times five thousand. She makes him hard-boil her breasts until the nipples pop up.

[Bluebeard takes an ax to the girl's nose.] She has a pretty nose but it is stubbier than he wants. [Like a pork loin. Or worse. So she cries into her pillowcase.] Her loins are lardy. He cuts the fat bits and holds them above her chin. [Like a mustache.] She kisses things instead of eating them. When he axes her nose, she swallows the blood. Interior marinade. It burns but she flavors quickly. Bride tartare. Knife carpaccio, seasoned with citric acid. [The homicidal critics applaud Bluebeard's best culinary efforts.] [I have turned marital meat into something more, he says and slides his slug tongue around the outside of the serving plate.] The girl plucks the eggs directly from her poultry ovary. They fall into her wicker basket. She lights the handles on fire and runs. Yolks in flames. [But she fails the eggs. She lets the shells get pink. And we all know they should stay light brown.] [Brown.]

He butchers her womb. It is a quick harvest. [There, then gone. She sleeps soundly through the surgery.] In the morning, she wakes up and feels her feet tingling. They are stuck in the stockade. The handsome servants hack away at the locks with sharpened finger bones. [She licks their skin. She remembers the swan-armed brothers gasping at her windowsill. It was too long ago. Now, they have bird faces.] The servants peck her wrists with their beaks. She drains the clots in a milk pail and adds cream. [Whipped blood. The beard's favorite. When he is mad, he eats five gallons and nurses his food poisoning with a hose.] She throws on an un-cracked egg. The metal plates in her jaw churn. She appeases herself with cranial turbines. They have a splintered texture to them. She rubs the hard parts against the wall. [She is digestive-battery powered. She railroads all the scrambled protein requirements.]

[But then.] [But then he eats his ax whole. It has a blue vial bottle. It is a vile bottle. Tinted azure. Cerulean poison. The bride opens her mouth and takes the potion down. This is her escape route. [The Bluebeard blocked off all others. First there was the one outside the window but he said no and pieced the glass together to make a web.] [Then there was the attic stairs. She tried to fling herself but nets surrounded the palace bottom.] There is no place else for the young girl to go. So she runs into the walls and cracks her head. [Cracks her egg? No her head. Although an egg can certainly be the head she has denied having for years.] But then, she cannot face the mirror image. It is too spiteful. It draws lines over her face. [We must fill those with botulism, the Bluebeard proclaims and collects soft canned goods.] He injects her cheeks. The needles are worse than the chopping ax. She would rather die to the cutting board than to silicon implants in her knees.

There is an ax. Or an alternate sharp weapon. The girl hides the blades beneath her bed. [She hides the knife but cannot sleep. The blade comes up through her pillow and bites the side of her head.] Later, Bluebeard asks, What has chewed you up? She cannot say the wolf or the witch. Instead, she pushes her hand against the mattress. [The springs are pushing up, she says and hangs her head sadly.] When she looks at him, it is out of the corners of her eyes. [She has corner eyes. Not even circles. Corners. Perfect ninety degree angles. Enough for a single triangle.] [She can have a square but does not want more than one angle.] [Anything more than 180 is more than she can hold.] She buries her head in the sheets and whimpers. Outside, every man assembles around the building and cries. [We love you, they say.] Bluebeard charges with his ax. He knocks the men down and severs their limbs. Decapitation, the bearded king screams and eats the human brains for lunch.

It is hard for the bride to urinate but Bluebeard still makes her hold a plastic cup against her urethra. [This is not for a drug test. It is for a bride test. The groom must ensure she is healthy.] When the cup is filled, Bluebeard hops down the hallway and mixes the acidic fluid with freshly pressed wine. The fermentation makes his head swim. [Swim, Bluebeard. Swim.] The bride walks downstairs and waits outside the forbidden closet. She lost a fur coat in there but isn't allowed to retrieve it. Instead, the matted hair floats in a blood pool, getting heavier with each passing hour as it retains moisture and turns into a bloated version of its former self. [She is a bit bloated. The bride. She presses her hands against her engorged abdomen and sighs.] The water retention hurts. [Or the blood retention. Neither matters.] Bluebeard hisses into his teacup and listens for the boiling water to run. [It flees into the cupboard.] He chases after with his ax raised.

The bride decides to make a fresh pepper relish. [The bride loves pepper but Bluebeard is allergic to the seeds and ribs. They make his beard fall out. And if he lacks a beard, he can no longer own his name. And so the bride tricks him.] She layers many squash pieces with onions, fitting the peppers into the spaces. When the bowl is filled, the bride blends the vegetables together. She makes a homemade bone crisp. [To keep the brides from going to waste, the Bluebeard man would butcher their bones with a mandolin cutter and make thin wafers from the calcium. These would be served with his favorite beer nuts during football games.] The bride fries up a fresh batch of the crisps and serves them around the relish bowl. Bluebeard stumbles in, half drunk. He shells five raw eggs and eats the runny yolks and whites. He grabs the dip and devours thirty-five fully soaked chips. The bride collects his lost hair in plastic baggies. [There are a lot of bags.]

Feathers fill the bride's undergarment drawer. Next to the bundled feathers are several containers of pre-mixed tar. [Tonight, the bride will become a bird.] She sits in the window and watches the beard's best friends approach. They walk with hobbling steps. They stumble through muck. [The countryside is flooded with downed blood. The majority runs out of the castle and creates the mud puddles. The air smells of salty body fluids.] The bride carves a skull from plastic and arranges it on the window. The guests wave up to the smiling face. [The bride bathes in her sticky shower. Her flesh turns obsidian black. Everything sticks to her.] She washes the feathers and arranges them in concentric circles along her body. Closing her eyes, she steps outside and lands among the guests. [A bird, they shout and pat her feathers shoulders.] She walks past the crowds. When she is far enough away, she eats an egg and sets the tar trail on fire. She stares at her dazzling wrists.

After the ax slaughter, the beard stops breathing. [The bride bribes him to life with a hard-boiled egg. She lops the top of the egg off and serves him the quivering yolk.] [Of course, the presentation is done on a bridal skull spoon.] The bride goes into business carving utensils from her legs. Her under-body is fleshless. She is simply a reservoir of bones. [Oh, calcium royal. How we love thee.] Her knee knives are priceless. The Bluebeard uses them to fiddle around his mouth. [The bride locks her collection in the chamber.] [She takes away the beard's key and swallows it.] [Through a rectal fidgeting, she can unlock the door.] The beard polishes her spoons. He keeps his dead brides stored beneath his bed. They move around at night. [They sound like scuffling mice.] During the day, the beard goes to work and his loyal bride eats her eggs in the company of the dead bride. They have dark red stains on their foreheads. She cleans them with yolk. [They lock the chamber up.]

Alana I. Capria (born 1985) has an MFA in Creative Writing from Fairleigh Dickinson University. She resides in Northern New Jersey with her fiancé and rabbits. Her chapbooks and links to other publications can be found at her website.