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Sky Teeth by Catherine Roberts

I lie on my back in the clearing, holding a telescope to my eye, tired or dying - I don’t know which. I used to look for them in Grandma’s garden, in the marshes, by the brook, in the trash, as Granddad mottled the walls and yelled into bottles. I focus the lens and after all these years, through a tube of light, they come – red hibiscus skirts and purple velvet, china faces and teeth. Needle teeth.  

It’s a dance I’ve been waiting my whole life to watch. Since I wore gingham skirts and gnashed at girls. Before my fingers clicked and my eyes ached. I hung mousetraps in the trees, watched the sky all night in Granddad’s greenhouse, over the shoulder of a choir boy, singing hymns to the softest parts of my body. I was sent to my room when the Pastor came to dinner, after chewing banana candy at the table and hissing that fairies were real, and God was not. Years later, my husband asked if they were wings scorched into my skin, said I was an embarrassment to him. I should stop believing in fairies, I’m thirty, forty, fifty. But I never stopped, not even when hearts did, not even when I stopped them. Stuck my foot in the grandfather clock.  

One time, I drove my red Chevy off a cliff and that car flew and I swore I saw them, technicolor blotches soaring with me. I smiled, thinking I could die then but I landed in a field and my blue eyes popped open, my husband's ashes still bottled and belted into the seat next to me.  

The clearing is lifeless, with years-old tire marks from a red-red car, but the sky is bright and the air is sweet as banana candy. The fairies are holographic, swooping, spiraling, arcing the clouds in silver teeth. Then they dive towards me, chomping the night, spiky hands reaching and the glass in my telescope shatters, falling in my eyes with my last biting breath.  


Catherine Roberts is always writing something strange or bittersweet. Her work has been published/is forthcoming in Flash Frog, Maudlin House, Bending Genres, and Gone Lawn -- among other places. Find her on X under the handle: @CRobertsWriter

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