Gone Lawn
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Gone Lawn 52
beaver moon, 2023

new works

Sara Dobbie

I Always Hated Your Mother but I Swear It Wasn't Me Who Chopped Off Her Head

When I told her that I loved you she cursed me, froze me with a wicked glare so that nothing I ever did could measure up. When I shook her hand I felt a heaviness overtake me, and from that moment on I moved slower as if I were perpetually mired in mud. She didn’t want you to want me, and it worked.
Do you remember that night we invited her to dinner? That’s when I realized I could no longer form complete sentences. Words escaped me, jumbled in my mouth. I tried to impress her with stories of you, but everything I said came out wrong. I knew by the way your lips tightened that you thought I was a fool.
The meal was a failure. I baked a casserole, but it came out burnt to a crisp. I spilled red wine on the white tablecloth. The chocolate mousse didn’t set up, just oozed around her spoon in the bowl. She arched an eyebrow, patted your hands. When you hugged her good-bye she hissed at me over your shoulder.
Things got worse. I wanted you to come home to a clean house but no matter how I worked, dirt accumulated everywhere. I dusted the mantle and mopped the floor, polished the silverware and scrubbed the bathtub. I vacuumed the rugs and washed the dishes, but I could see your disappointment when you walked in because the place was filthy.
Since you left, I haven’t accomplished much. I only think about how good our life could’ve been if your mother weren’t a witch.
I don’t know who planted her head in the backyard, but now it’s perched atop a thick stem that grows like a magic beanstalk. Her gray hair gets longer every day, a mass of tresses shining in the sun, curling down to spread over the lawn. Her eyes are two glowing marbles intent on holding up whatever malignant spell she cast on me, even in death. I hide inside the house with the shades down. I spend hours googling counter curses, protection hexes, love potions. The internet suggests I smudge myself and take a salt bath. Maybe make a mirror box to send her vile gaze back at herself, but I doubt that would work, all things considered.
I know you said you’re not coming back but I think you should, if only so I can explain. Don’t worry about the stains all over the front hall carpet. It looks like blood, but I assure you it’s not. Just me being clumsy with the wine again. I’m sure you’ll wonder where that old axe you kept in the shed has disappeared to, but I don’t know anything about that. All I know is I’ve been perfecting a special recipe, just for you. it’s simmering on the stove right now. Please come home and I promise, one tiny taste will fix everything.

Sara Dobbie is a Canadian writer from Southern Ontario. Her stories have appeared in Milk Candy Review, Fictive Dream, JMWW, Sage Cigarettes, New World Writing, Bending Genres, Ghost Parachute, Ruminate Online, Trampset, Ellipsis Zine and elsewhere. Her chapbook "Static Disruption" is available from Alien Buddha Press. Her collection "Flight Instinct" is available from ELJ Editions. Follow her on Twitter @sbdobbie, and on Instagram @sbdobwrites. Her website.