Literary Orphans

Canopy Bed by Matthew Dexter

Every night I pick a juicy booger and wipe it onto the wallpaper behind my canopy

bed. This is my thing. Like a prisoner counting days till release. I have been doing this my

whole life. Layers of nasal offerings pasted onto ancient wallpaper. It is like those rings

within trees and how you can count the years. Mom has no idea.

 

Till they load my desk and dresser into the truck. The room is empty except for the

canopy bed. I beg for another hour. Childhood coagulated beneath fingernails like glowing

wings from fireflies. Scrape them against bubblegum pavements and swallow the obstinate

fossils that refuse to dislodge. Chewed memories from bullies: cool girls with flat bellies,

globs of jelly atop porcelain veneers, peanut butter on the roof of my mouth.

 

One of the movers wants to fuck me. Most men do. I am fourteen. My boobs are

small and beautiful. They must think my pussy is tight.

 

I am naked and he smiles. The rest of the movers enter and everybody grunts. Mom

left for a pack of Camels. Three humps. They take turns on top. One watches out my

window. Muscles and shoulders scratched with mucus fingernails older than my mattress.

The headboard bashes boogers.

 

Mom returns. Asks why the bed is still here. The men are already in prison,

counting the years. They saved me from removing the canopy. There would be time to

carve the hardened snot and blood from the parts that matter most.

 

Officers offer to carry the bed onto the abandoned truck. They pull the canopy apart.

Detectives see me doing cartwheels naked. They know that prison is an evil place so they

can only look. They gawk at my belly ring where boogers are glowing. Counting rings

within me.

 

Actual age: infinity.

 

They ogle till Mom screams and cradles me on the mattress and asks what

happened. We move the headboard so she sees the treasure. We dig through the years. She hugs me and blows camel smoke onto my collage. She brushes the layered monument like an archaeologist unearthing a dinosaur fossil. She sees me naked again. Not just my skin but everything extinct.

O Typekey Divider

Matthew Dexter lives in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

matthew-dexter___

O Typekey Divider

–Art by Mustafa Dedeoğlu