Henry’s diary was a soiled jubilation of a recluse’s childhood, stuffed under his iguana’s terrarium, reeking of fierce terror and hands-on scrutiny of grade school intimacy and psychopathy, page by flourished page, inflamed bedlam of erect body odors as purposeful and gusty as the sticky names recorded and blacklisted in backwash gray marker mapping who slithered under-soaped flesh out of station wagons into over-sparkled classrooms cloned with crappy kid’s art and Mom bumper stickers flush with joy, love, and clasped community hands, the cloakroom hooked with Henry through Thursday’s lunch, pizza day, by Fat Johnson who taunted Henry when he wore Mom’s plaid-poly pants suits and told the class he was a designer just like on TV, and then the blacked out days when only a black marker would do after weekends at the lake, Henry’s globular face stung by teeming multitudes of mosquitos when Mom knew he was brutally allergic, even when one of the Mondays, after their getaway, was school photo day and Henry had to plaster his face with creamy slabs of beige cover-up Mom kept in her stash for those years with Dad, and reoccurring thoughts of offing himself after adolescent evening breast-feedings to Hank Williams tunes that kept Henry’s insomnia potent, his writing crooning across each unsung page, and the early stages of lactose intolerance alive and burgeoning when he gagged in the cafeteria over lukewarm milk cartons slapped onto each tray.
Meg Tuite’s latest collection is White Van. She is author of five story collections and five chapbooks. She won the Twin Antlers Poetry award for her poetry collection, Bare Bulbs Swinging and is included in Best of Small Press 2021 and Wigleaf’s Top 50 stories for 2022. She teaches writing retreats and online classes hosted by Bending Genres. She is also the fiction editor of Bending Genres and associate editor at Narrative Magazine. http://megtuite.com
Rahma O. Jimoh is a Nigerian writer and photog. She is a lover of sunsets and monuments and has been published or has works forthcoming in Tab Journal, Lucent Dreaming, Agbowo & others. She is an editor at Olumo Review. Pronouns: She/Her Twitter: @dynamicrahma