My girlfriend wipes her makeup off. We just fought. She wipes her face off, skin flapping. We’re still fighting. She takes bones from her skull, arranges them on the dresser. It’s how we fight. She removes the center’s guck, drips it across a hanger. (Birth’s a fight, a body argument.) Decapitated, non-corporeal, she sits.

I crush myself into a golden-lotus foot binding, Houdini-style, crushing syndrome.

Telekinesis, she turns out the light.

I roll into a corner, away from the heater, so I don’t burn, melt.

Mid-morning, we’re crisp and forgotten, my severed hand draped across her
missing back—beautiful, American.

Ron Riekki’s books include U.P.: a novel (Sewanee Writers Series and Great Michigan Read nominated), The Way North: Collected Upper Peninsula New Works (2014 Michigan Notable Book from the Library of Michigan and finalist for the Eric Hoffer Book Award/Grand Prize shortlist, Midwest Book Award, Foreword Book of the Year, and Next Generation Indie Book Award), Here: Women Writing on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (2016 IPPY/Independent Publisher Book Award Gold Medal Great Lakes—Best Regional Fiction and Next Generation Indie Book Award—Short Story finalist), and And Here: 100 Years of Upper Peninsula Writing, 1917-2017 (Michigan State University Press, 2017).

Photo Credit: Matt Lee

3 Responses to “PTSD”

  1. Karen Harvey says:

    Wow. Powerful, visceral.

  2. E McKay says:


  3. Dianna K Schaefer says:

    Wow. I like stories you can feel. They are the ones that leave the longest lasting impressions.

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