Gone Lawn
a journal of word-things
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Gone Lawn 51
harvest moon, 2023

Featured artwork, Cheeseburger Picnic, by Chris Mars

new works

Gessica Sakamoto Martini

The Peacock

When I wake up in the morning, I am a peacock. I carry a long, heavy tail that looks like a broom. People ask me to sweep the floor, so I sweep everywhere I go. My friends have turned into eagles. They fly high in the sky. People sing songs to them and say: "They obscure the sun because they are the sun." "It's just cloudy," I say, and they chase me away, hollering what the hell I think I am. And I don't know; I'm just a peacock with a long heavy tail.

At night, the peacock walks toward the shore under the Full Moon. The Moon reflects on how beautiful the peacock's tail must be when it opens. "Open it for me," says the Moon. And so, the peacock unfolds his tail, a painted canvas with glittering eyes. They look like the eyes of God, thinks the Moon. The Moon hopes that when the peacock reaches the ocean, he, too, will see the eyes reflected on the water like hundreds of green and blue suns burning away the night. Then the peacock will say: I am the peacock, and the Full Moon is beautiful tonight.

Nightmare Sits at the Table

At breakfast, Nightmare sits between me, my mother and father. I suddenly feel out of place. “What do you want to drink?” asks my mother. “Goat milk,” says Nightmare. Father reads the morning newspaper of years ago. “And how about some bread?” asks my mother. As I watch the scene, I understand this is not a dream. In my dreams, when Nightmare reaches out for my chest, I swear I love him, and then I fly off into the night riding a bat. Now, Nightmare sits at the table even when the sun is out. Nightmare has the shape of a withered rose bush and smells like metal. “Who are you?” I ask. “I am your fairy tale,” says Nightmare, “I grew fangs when you got teeth, and I got fur when you grew hair. I have been wailing from the forest, the supermarket, the school yard, the bus stop, for you to take me home.” Nightmare sips the goat milk that is not milk but sorrow. The bread is made of stones. “There is no milk in this house,” I say, “I think you made a mistake wanting to come here.” “There was nowhere else to go,” says Nightmare. Years later, Nightmare trudges through the house with skin flaking off everywhere. Then, he comes to me and begs for milk. I show him my bare chest, and he sucks feverishly.

Gessica Sakamoto Martini holds a PhD in Anthropology from Durham University (UK). Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in FlashFlood (National Flash Fiction Day), Corvid Queen, Seize the Press Magazine, Crow & Cross Keys and others. She is a Fiction First reader at Orion’s Belt Magazine and can be found on Twitter at @GJMartini talking about fairytales.