(& then, after this, all the children rise up)

by Joel James Davis

Baby says this with her pacifier making its ellipse to her mouth, that slow arc from hand to lips. When will they push through the ground, the earth, the black soiled soil, God’s dirty breath? When? Baby says this, too. April dabs sour mash on Baby’s gums, to let the teeth push through like the guns Baby waits for.

Any. Any day. Any day now, Baby, August says, his Pall Mall clenched there in his small mouth, pulling its rusty haze into him, inside him, through his maze, this map of his lungs.

April holds Baby out over the earth, the black soiled soil. See, she says, that’s where they’ll push through like a wet sticky Baby from my two thighs, my two vertices, where August put you in in the first place.

Baby grins like she sees the guns, like she sees the harvest, that which she can reap. She is imagining the growth, the maturation of what they planted, she & April & August & of that seed in April’s belly, that which August spat in there after Baby had closed her lemonade stand for the night. August closed his eyes & grunted songs of hyms & spat that little brother into April’s moist mound of dirty dirt, her sex, her wetness, her hungry earth.

Seven days pass like a famished crow & the blackness of the harvest, of the guns, begins to crown, to become dilated. They, the guns Baby waits for, push force thrust their muzzles up & into & through the soiled soil.

There they are, Baby says, her gums swimming in sour mash, in the laquer of this paste, this numbing that April applies. There they are!

Forty-six nights end the days & Baby wakes with little white Chicklets of teeth, cutting at al dente macaroni & little planks of canned weiners. Take me out there, Baby says with a lisp. Okay, August says, his Pall Mall down to the brown stub, the filter that tries to keep things away.

In the rain they see the full muzzle, trigger, magazine of what Baby wanted, what she planted, what she is about to reap. She toddles down to the black soiled soil, God’s breath & plucks picks selects the juiciest one, the shiniest most mature one.

April snaps photos like fingers. For the scrapbook, for memories, she says to Baby & August.

Baby grips the guns, her gums soothed with sour mash. She grins & slides shiny copper rounds into the space August has called the chamber. Baby smiles, cocks this gun.

Put ‘em up, Baby says, exploding shiny cylinders outward.

       & she sings hyms & sins
              & sings & singes skin
                     & sins. (& then, after this, all the children rise up.)

Joel James Davis is fiction editor for Cartographer Electric! and has work in Redivider, Lamination Colony, The Bitter Oleander, Alimentum, Pindeldyboz, Blood Orange Review, among others. He lives in upstate New York, where he is a mediocre paperboy.

Back to Issue Three: Spring 2009