by Christine Tierney
what was that musty smell rainwater dead mice why did we keep the rusted old car in the garage and the newer one outside I want to know what I was wearing my flannel pjs my sweatpants a goddamn tutu who stirred I said who stirred did the wooden steps creak as I made my way down were the car keys jangling in my pocket as I crept honestly can you look me straight in the eye and tell me that no one heard those jangling keys what made me slip the missing tread and had I even taken time to write a note a list of who gets what lazy I mean lazy lazy with a capital L why was the vinyl seat so cold when I first climbed in was it winter was it 2:00 am could I see my breath and was that freakin’ TV still yammering up there did I sit for a while on the cold seat before turning the engine on you mean to tell me no one upstairs heard the rumble of that engine who was home anyway I want to know who was home and why did the thought of my cat stalking finches make me bawl was it a school night was my homework done (that’s a joke!) why can I still see that purple God’s-eye dangling from the rearview mirror did I switch off the engine after ten minutes or five am I making all this up can you hear me am I deaf am I speaking in tongues are my lips moving am I stuttering do you think I’m nuts and those thick nauseating fumes was I dizzy did I puke what made me stop are you serious not one person upstairs heard the thunder through those drafty floors and were the creepy brown spiders watching me I coughed right?
Christine Tierney’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in Fourteen Hills, Permafrost, PMS, Poet Lore, Tusculum Review, descant, Soundzine, The Broome Review, Skidrow Penthouse, Shadowbox, Sanskrit, Cider Press Review, Tattoo Highway and other journals. She holds an MFA from the University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast Writing Program, and is employed as an after-school director.