curio by laura ellen scott




The radio has her frozen in bed. The news reader whispers the question and the senator whispers back. Whispered traffic report, whispered weather.

The line is behind the gas station. Weeds, oil ditch, briars. Trash everywhere. Motor oil cans. The time she was six and the manager’s son tried to do something. Obese, silent. It was purely violent. She got away and told one kid who said she lied and that was that.

Gasoline and swamp. Crows and horse flies. And then pear trees, full of tight dry fruit and planks, sometimes whole pallets wedged up there. Only hard mean boys take to fruit trees. Kids with disinterested Dads need trees with crooked branches.

Fat Silver Cleland is in the room. He is under the bed and she still can’t get up. Her lover is in the doorway, hair wet, mostly dressed. Everything but shoes. He’s telling her to shag her ass, she’ll be late. He whispers: shag your ass.

The thrum of idling trucks. Savages wait at the borderlands.

Silver is what they name a boy who can’t be raised right. His brother’s name is Harvard. Silver Cleland is wedged between the dresser and the wall. He is that narrow.

Treehouse. Treefort.