Gone Lawn
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Gone Lawn 54
worm moon, 2024

Featured artwork, Capitol Reef Wash, by Kathleen Frank

new works

Avra Margariti

Seamstress's Daughters, Merchant's Sons

When father died, our seamstress mother boarded up every window, black-sheathed every mirror, and sewed all our skirts into trousers. The mirror shrouds were a protection against wraiths, the windows against lust. Like sutures, our trousers’ rough threads rubbed against our leg hairs curling as dead spiderlings. When mother caught us nicking ourselves trying to turn our skin pearly-smooth and frictionless like the lithe bodies in her magazines, she knocked the rust-dulled razor out of our hands. Used it to slice into the magazines, unmend every page.
Out of defiance at first, we used what magazine pages we could salvage, the ink burned to bleeding liquid under a lighter flame, to paint our leg hairs blue. Meanwhile, Mother worked her fingers raw sewing suits for faraway lords so us sisters could eat heaped plates of food, absorb the protein of offal and pork bellies, donkey milk and goat cheese because, she said, we needed strong bones and muscles with which to fight off suitors and sailors on shore leave now that father was gone.
Our new trousers pressed between our thighs where before only air had been. We dewed with a strange need, that of dark and sunless places, a great microcosm for wild things to bloom. When our new must permeated the last fabric our merchant father had ever handled, defiance turned to euphoria. We cut up the hems, stuffed them full of balled up magazine pages, and those in turn we packed where the new threads met the musk and moist between our legs. We touched our growing bulge each night, which rustled like deadfall, and we petted it like a small mammal caught in a textile snare, imagining our fingers were that of lovers. Our new trousers’ rough threads sand-papered the insides of our thighs like beard-burn, what we imagined it to be like when the wind at night howled in amorous throes, what we imagined it to be like growing tufty from our cheeks as we made a lover howl in turn.
Mother thought our trouser predicament a temporary safety measure. She didn’t know how, at night while she slept, the village men came and peeked through the cracks in the window-boards, bore hot-breathed witness to our changing bodies, and the beards we had painted on our cheeks, and the bulge between our legs. We pressed our eyeballs against the cracks, ignored the splinters, stared back, man to man.
Come morning, we became each other’s mirror, slurping tripe soup, assuring each other we would soon be able to fill our father’s leftover trousers, and his place in the world.

Avra Margariti is a queer author and poet from Greece. Avra’s work haunts publications such as SmokeLong Quarterly, Wigleaf, Best Microfiction, and Best Small Fictions. You can find Avra on twitter (@avramargariti).