The Kitchen

The sun in September is a hammer, is a circular saw. You were using a belt sander on the Saltillo tile in the kitchen. I wanted to wash dishes with my back to you, brushed my teeth instead. The grating whine grew and covered us both, you with those ridiculous neon earplugs sticking halfway out your ears and me refusing them out of protest. I sat on the couch and read a novel too fat to finish. We went to bed barely touching, just the hollows of our feet.

I had a nightmare, left salt on the sheets. Woke to you banging away at the old plywood cabinets with a crowbar. I thought you should cover the floors with a tarp, but I was too angry to say so.

The next day or the day after I forgot to go to work, I slept too late and woke to the sound of cracking wood, wore socks all day, shuffled around the house eating blueberries with a metal spoon. I forgot to be angry by then, or I forgot what it sounded like.

I’m not sure I’m getting this right. Everything smells like a pillar of salt. Today you pulled out the sink. There are pipes everywhere. Water is pooling in the grooves of the floor. The electric stove is already sitting in the back yard, leaning. The kitchen is a box of sharp objects. My socks are wet. You’ve been sleeping on the couch, or I have. I lost one of my earplugs and I don’t know when—I didn’t notice it until just now, reaching up, touching my ear.

The first words come unbidden. We, like air escaping. Like a dirge. We need. Words heavy as I imagined them, a mouth filling steadily with sand.



This story appeared in NANO Fiction Issue 5.1.  Pick up your copy today.

Sarah Harris is a teacher and writer with short fiction appearing in SpringGun and Quarter After Eight. She has an MFA from West Virginia University and is currently a doctoral candidate in Rhetoric and Composition at the University of Arizona.