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Mercy

fiction

My sheets smell like gun oil. You could never seem to wash the ghost of bullets from your palm lines. Rifle stains spell out a destiny across the map of your hands. I only hope you remember that my name is written there too. I worry about oil spills, the traces your hands leave behind, painting war between my fingers, through my hair. My new perfume is someone else’s battle, a second hand smoke I’m trying not to choke on.

My bedroom is a war zone. We are led here on the tattered path of pillow fights, tickle skirmishes. Our kisses seal out my mock screams of the hopeless losing shouting “Mercy!” I always lose. I will lose you, at least for awhile, soon enough.

You show me Youtube videos of amputees making fun of the world they came back to. These clips look like mismatched socks beside my slam poems in the suggestion que. The poems are by angry women like me, who always seem to be losing battles, something or nothing like mine. We talk about the future at arm’s length. We still have that privilege.

I drop you at your doorstep the next morning. I have spent the past 16 hours biting my tongue. I never pull the safety back off the trigger. I like you, I will wait for you. Please, I am not ready for you to join the list of people I no longer talk about. I am a jammed revolver in a shoot out. All I’m asking for is mercy when I kiss you goodbye. 

Read next: Evergreen
Aliza Dube
Aliza Dube

I am a recent graduate of the BFA in Creative Writing program at the University of Maine at Farmington. I am currently living with my boyfriend and cat in Kansas, cause why not? I am currently seeking publication for a memoir manuscript. 

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Mercy
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