Leslie Walker Trahan
My mother has left me her skin, which I will stretch and smoke until it is taut and weatherproofed. My mother has left me her tendons, which I will peel away from her once-firm muscles and bind into thread. My mother has left me her blood and marrow, which I will heat and cool and salt into putty. My mother has left me her bones, which I will strip clean and add to the low wall that surrounds this house. This wall was started by my grandmother's great-great-great-grandmother, and it will take many more generations to complete. As I work, I will sit my own daughter down to watch. She will turn away at first. She will disparage me. She will strike her fists against my back. She will behave as I once did, and as my mother did before me. But even as she keeps one eye closed in the spirit of anger, with the other eye she will be watching me. I will show her how she will one day remove my flesh from my skin with a long-handled knife. I will show her how she will one day use a finely sharpened stick to extract my marrow from its cavity. I will show her how she will one day wash my bones in lake water, how she will leave them to dry in the sun.
Trahan's stories have been featured in The Forge, New Delta Review, and SmokeLong Quarterly
, among other publications. She lives in Austin, Texas. In addition to her website (linked), you can find her online at and on Twitter @lesliewtrahan