flash fiction, pastel sketch & photo by Elizabeth


I’m haunted that it happened here. Thought this was a safe community. Yet Tammy took that woman’s diamonds, clothes, and almost took her life. She starved that poor woman under the guise of helping a shut-in. Tami helped herself instead. 

Never met the woman even though she lived across the street. Didn’t even know she was there for the longest time. Nice home but I thought it was deserted—blinds drawn, never saw anyone go in or out. That is till after I heard Tammy tell a neighbor, “…poor thing…broke her hip…no, no children…needs help.” After that I saw Tammy walking a runt of a dog that trembled and skittered as she drug it down the street till it did its business then half-choked itself lunging against the leash toward home. I’d see Tammy go in around dusk and leave not much after with bags in each hand and always two more tucked under her arms. 

I’m embarrassed I didn’t think about it till the deputy asked if I’d seen anything unusual. This was right after the woman’s son came. Apparently she did have a child and he fired Tammy and packed what he could in this tiny trailer hitched to his cigar box of a car. The deputy asked what I’d seen—wanted to know how often Tammy was there, if I’d noticed her wearing fancy jewelry, or how much weight my neighbor had lost the past few months. But all I’d seen was brown bags and that scaredy-dog and how skeletal that woman looked in her boy’s arms when he carried her to his car.

Thank you to the editor of Doorknobs & Body Paint for first publishing this piece.

Lizards In?

poem & photo by Elizabeth


Do you scuttle lithely sand and stone,
peek out from rocks through half-shut lids
while others' hands are clasped in dance
beneath the bone-white crescent slit?

Are your eyes autonomous,
right darts to lips and left to toes;
as softer flesh sips steamed orgeat
do you watch the spoon, the ankles cross?

Do you begin each day with push-ups
then shield yourself from sun in shade;
when threatened do your muscles flex,
your speech reduce to a chortling hiss?

Do others comment, How cold your hands,
how dry your skin? Do you dream of
grasshoppers sweet in your mouth, or
screaming wake from the jaws of a snake?

Thank you to the editor of Something Like Homesickness: A Zapizdat Poetry Anthology for first publishing this poem.