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“When My Knees Ache” by Shoshana Surek

When My Knees Ache

by Shoshana Surek

When my toes curled outward, away from center; when the corn silk that gave us rope burns lopped over in the haze heat and spread out like hare heat (Dutch Lop-Eared and Old English Red). Fat rabbit and flat rabbit on chicken wire cage bottom. Back when twenty-five cents bought a soda but twenty-five cents was hard to come by; that was when he rolled his bed into a sack and said,

“I will write you.”  

 When we smoked until the wallpaper disappeared.

“I will write you.”

When his arm went over his head, with his gun in his hands, with his belly below water: 

“I will write you.”

When his corn-hair, all ropes and silk of it, lopped off at the point of exit:

“I will write you,” he said, “Every time I think of you.”

His letters arrived. Carbon and wood and carcinogens mingled with apple pie seasoning and cardamom. The river ran high and in three speeds. Sandbars below trusses, covered by still water. Rip currents eager for the Gulf of Mexico. That was when his letters arrived. I said:

“I will remember.”

But I didn’t remember. When his letters arrived, I thought about the rabbit: stretched wide over thin wire, boxed in her own heat. I wrote to him that it was only a matter of time until she was cooked, or dead.

Shoshana Surek lives in Littleton, Colorado with her husband and three children. She earned her MA in Creative Writing from Regis University and is completing her MFA in Creative Writing at the Mile-High MFA program in Denver.

She enjoys riding her horse in the foothills surrounding Ken Caryl, gardening, and reading with her kids. She is currently working on a collection of poetry as well as a contemporary young adult novel.