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Avery James

After Bruce Conn’s Concise Definition for a Parasite

An organism that lives on or in another organism of a different species, maintaining a long-term intimate relationship with that host species, and ultimately causing harm to the host.

          The child was not this to the mother, no matter what she may tell you. She tasted her pulse, iridescent like gasoline, in the roots of her teeth each time he spoke from the backseat of the Corolla: What was his name? Did he love you? Why did he leave? Was it my fault? Yours?

          Eyes, dry like frostpine. Hands, tack-hard, grafted to the heated skin of the wheel. She thought of leaning forward on the pedal, loosing them off the ramp’s lip like a reckless arrow. A weightless snap of time. An exquisite shriek from the backseat. Their bodies catching up to them as they spanned concrete. A single, heavy answer.

          But looking to the rearview mirror, she saw the tightness in his eyes. A habit left by the absent man like stain on them both. No, these two did not fit the definition. They had the same hot blood, the same resentment coursing through them.

          She turned the corner. He opened his mouth to another question.

Spring, 2018 Issue

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