The Trapeze Artist
The waters are rising and your furniture is getting damp. When your cinnamon toast sogs and sags in your plate, you call for help, your voice crackling with distress. Tilly hears you from her place high in her tent. She chalks her hands and wrists, departs the board, hollows and sweeps to your side. Hanging by one knee, she passes you a thimble, returns to her perch. After much scooping and tossing of the deluge that surrounds you, tips of buried things begin to peek out. Your curiosity pushes you to your knees, and you start to dig. Your shoulders ache like fury as your fingers twist and curl to unearth coins, parrots, spider monkeys. It was all worth it in the end.
She watches you from her swing. You are sleeping on the canyon's rim. The park rangers are taking bets. Will you spiral into the abyss? Tilly swooshes to your aid once more. A net alone will not suffice. She stitches a gigantic mattress to stuff the gaping hole in the gorge, carefully, like Florence Nightingale packing a wound, then crams the bedding with ancestors on your mother's side, fleapits, a valise, and a month's worth of drought. Ready for a break, Tilly lifts the edges of her cape, tugs at her spangled leotards, sits back on her haunches and breaks bread with tourists. Now no one is looking at you. At least it's not like your last birthday, your shaking knees soldered to your nose.
Tilly troubles your mind until it bubbles over like lumpy porridge about to scorch. Before she untangles herself from your brain, snipping her way out, carefully, like a rich man's tailor, she dresses you like a lumberjack. She must like a rugged look, you believe. Your chest puffs out, popping the buttons off your flannel shirt. Then she rigs a tightrope over the circus's middle ring, a Mini Volant. She doesn't let you forget you asked for this. You suspect she's beginning to care for you. She whisks you to the platform, asks you to close your eyes. With a flick of her wrist, she slackens the wire. Open, she says and points ahead. It's time. You take a robust step forwards, but your logger boots can't get a purchase. As you fall, you note how conflicted she looks.
Mikki Aronoff's work appears or is forthcoming in The Ekphrastic Review, MacQueen's Quinterly, Intima, Thimble Literary Magazine, London Reader, SurVision, Rogue Agent, Popshot Quarterly, The South Shore Review, The Fortnightly Review, Feral, The Phare, Sledgehammer Lit, Flash Boulevard, New World Writing, Emerge, The Disappointed Housewife, Tiny Molecules and elsewhere. Her stories and poems have received Pushcart and Best Microfiction nominations.