Flash No. 14 – Katie Mauro Zeigler

Stroke

By Katie Mauro Zeigler

If I could talk, I would tell you that I used to have sex with the windows open and the moonlight and a man’s hands at the small of my back.  I would tell you how it felt to bring a baby into the world and how my first period came at twelve. You would know that my arms once reached out toward the wrong man who told me I smelled of anise and that is why I loved licorice and wish I could have it now.

If I could talk, I would tell you how my hair curled at the nape of my neck when it was damp and how music made me cry. You would laugh at my songs while never knowing how well we harmonized together, he and I. Until I sang alone.

If I could talk, you would know the poems I can recite in my head complete with pause and meter. Those old poems whose words end at my tongue and never pass my crooked lips.

But instead, I lie here in a room that is not my own, with a quilt made by women with time and sympathy on their hands. And although there is a picture of me on the bedside table next to the hand cream that I used to love, these objects are misplaced and foreign. They belong to the me who was before. The me who wishes it all ended on my bedroom floor instead of here where nothing good or lovely ever happens.

You will come to the room that I share with another just like me. Who, like me, cannot speak for herself. And you will look at our bodies and monitor our hearts and hear nothing.

Katie Mauro Zeigler is a writer and professor living in Walnut Creek, CA. Zeigler holds a BA and MA in English from Stanford University and completed coursework at Oxford University in British Literature. She has had short fiction and non-fiction published in a variety of outlets and is currently pursuing her MFA in Creative Writing at St. Mary’s College.

© Katie Mauro Zeigler

Free Image courtesy of Pixabay