Tag Archives: Emilea Huff

A Friend of Death’s

By Emilea Huff

You have an obsession
with the darkest street corner.

A full-speed tire, you go to bridges
where faith took its last leap.

You read obituaries of people
you have never heard of just to
know them in their last breath.

A breath of dry air,
a corner or crease,

a plateau on a mountain of
wonderings.

You love to hear about the newest
drug, but you only drink water
and smoke city street exhaust.

You have an obsession with death,
but you never want to die.

Something Like Larry

By Emilea Huff

In the morning, I see him. His hands are on the wheel, his voice greeting me as I step into the shuttle. He wishes me a good morning with a smile so endearing I feel like I’ve known him in a past life. There are wrinkles around his mouth, not from stress, but from smiling his whole life— just enough to leave a mark for every passerby to notice. I don’t know anything about this figure with the red baseball cap and the stubble that frames his aged face. I imagine his name is something like Larry, or Wayne, or George.

He could have a daughter— ten years old with pigtails and pressed-daffodil freckles. He could have a wife who spends her time drinking white wine and pasting photos of aunts and uncles and cousins into scrapbooks. Maybe his favorite food is lasagna, with the tiny leaves of oregano sprinkled on top. I have not known him long, but I imagine his younger brother has a wife and child, too. Some happy family that I’ve constructed in my head, all before I’ve even taken my seat.

Maybe he has a ranch-style house with blue shutters, like my own house used to be. The Larry in my head has a pug— not for him, but for his daughter who loves them so very much. He has a laugh that sounds like an engine starting, I imagine, something that makes his wife’s heart thump. He drives a bus because he loves the thrill of being on the open road, but now his brother makes fun of him because he’s going the same route every day. It may be the same route, he says, but at least I don’t work in a cubicle. Now his brother is laughing harder.

I wish I could say know him. I don’t know if he has a child or a wife or a younger brother that works in a cubicle. He is all a mystery to me, even his name. Whoever he is— whether he is Larry or not, I hope the life he lives is something he deserves. Nevertheless, I am determined to make him laugh. Just to see if he really does sound like an engine.

 

Mama

By Emilea Huff

A porcelain rooster eyed me from the corner of my room. Mama gave it to me last year for Christmas. She said she found it in a vintage shop and that it reminded her of me, because the label on the bottom said my name in pretty blue ink. I yawned, watching the sheets crease as I wiggled my toes.

I’m wearing Mama’s old nightgown and when I stand up, my head is spinning everywhere. It’s been happening a lot lately. I have to pinch my nose because I think it works so that I don’t throw up everywhere.

I don’t have school today. I don’t ever have school when I feel sick because Auntie says that’s when I need a break from life and fourth grade. I still leave the house, though, because my room smells like laundry detergent and it’s suffocating me.

I crunched a gum wrapper when I stepped on it. Cars zoomed by. I imagined that I was a giant, and every step I took was one enormous block compared to the tiny people beneath me and I felt better. Mama used to tell me that I was small as an ant but strong as an ox.

I see a little green car and now my head is spinning again. We used to have a car like that. Mama had a fluffy keychain.

The grocery store’s little bell tinkled as I entered. Auntie called me over to the counter where I met her every morning. “Hey sweetie, how are you feeling?” she asked me, handing me a bagel. I paused, picking some of the seeds off of the bagel and flinging them into the trash. I know she asked me that because I said I was sick last night, but I really wasn’t. I was thinking about Mama and her face on my pillow and my window and my mirror but that’s because I have part of her inside me. I have her inside me and she’s everywhere and I’m sick, oh no, I’m sick.

“Still sick,” I say, because I don’t want my friends to think I’m weird for crying in the bathroom again, because Mama couldn’t pick me up from school because she was gone, gone.

Sometimes I read things about Mama. She’s in the magazines so much I can’t help but read. One of the pages is taped to my wall, behind my door. I put it there because no one sees it when they open the door. Unless you count the one time Uncle Richie saw it. I still remember the way he looked at me.

He has sad eyes now– eyes that scream he has more to say, but he can’t open his mouth.

I miss Mama. I miss her because she did my laundry extra soft and sometimes put honey in my tea. I wake up in the morning and all I can think of is that rooster crowing, and all I want is Mama’s singing.