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The Green Pata

By Sarah Marie Kosch

Three years alive and the little girl has begun to demand stories from our heads, devouring them like a beautiful little beast, too hungry to pause for plot or craft she wants them when she wants them “with a mommy horsie and two babies and a green pata” a bribe in exchange for learning how to human: she sits on her tiny pink toilet and I sit on the other spinning sugar fluff and stealing whatever’s handy, wondering how much darkness to let in and when and what’s not mine to tell even disguised in some uncanny form to warn and filter out the worst poisons with my tongue as fast as she picks up words like stones from the ground and tucks them in her cheeks, twice as many as I have ever swallowed; I scratch for old learning my lazy skin has let evaporate (only the easiest and most delicious shards remain: hola, delicioso, rascacielos—pebbles in a whole other way to call things) stumbling with a child’s mouth trying out shapes, I give her a mommy horsie and two babies eating berries and napping in a sun-warmed bed of hay hoping I can distract her from what I don’t know, but only three years alive she already knows stories are better with loss—she claws out the bottom as fast as I build: “… dreaming on their beds of hay… (“They don’t have beds!” she laughs with delight at her theft)…they curled up on the fresh green grass… (“No grass!”)…on the rich brown dirt” (“No dirt!”) and our animal feet keep stamping down through crust and mantle to find the center of the earth.

Sarah Marie Kosch lives in Omaha, edits Random Sample Review and occasionally tweets from @smkosch.

Art by the author's niece.


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