Black Sunglasses

Darla touches all the sunglasses on the counter, mostly the black ones studded with rhinestones. She always has to touch things. Sam walks behind Darla putting the sunglasses back in position, the row on row of eyes like regiments of flies. Darla tries on the cat eye glasses, black with blue lenses, the false eyes of a butterfly. The price tag flutters along her cheek, and Sam wants to tuck it out of sight, into the indiscreet curls behind Darla’s ear, an unpinned wing, flittering. Darla looks in the magnifying mirror, turns her head left and right, closes in, makes red kissy lips. Her lips are large as the room. People are looking. Eyes swarm over Darla. There is buzzing. Bees. Darla pulls the black sunglasses from her face, smudging the lenses with her fingertips. She lets them drop, so that one black arm swings over the edge of the counter, a woman’s arm dangling from an unmade bed. Sam folds the two arms back over the tinted eyes. The bees are closer now. They drone in Sam’s ears. With pincer fingers, Sam lifts a pair of wrap- around sunglasses, the ones with the UV protection label, the ones with the darkest lenses. Nothing that would catch the light. Sound deadening. Dark as the hive.

Barbara Westwood Diehl is founding editor of the Baltimore Review. Her fiction and poetry have been published in journals including MacGuffin, SmokeLong Quarterly, Gargoyle, Superstition Review, Word Riot, Bartleby Snopes, Penduline Press, Northwind, and Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine.