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Spectacle by Lydia Gwyn

I saw them all–their heavenly bodies glowing above the dark gap where we lived, the open-mouthed land built by thrusts and faults and folding sandstone. Later, pined and oaked, seeded with switchgrass and bluestem. Maidenhair trees like golden matriarchs. Spicebush, mulberry. Slices of limestone where the roads were cut in. And the land, peopled and housed, cattled. Hay-baled and clotheslined. And above it all, the spectacle of the night sky written out in slow and steady print like an apology to be seen. It was there in my mother’s car on drives home from restaurant-dinners or extra-inning ball games that I first took notice of the night sky. There, cupped in the vinyl seat, with the glowing numbers on our car’s digital clock. Blue-green. Green-blue. My knock-kneed body ready for sleep, face drowsing against the window. Field dust in my hair. There, the blue stars shone like old lives, old selves. And I invited them into the car, back into my body, down deep into the parking garages of my cells, membrane to matching membrane. It was there that I first noticed the moon like a lady’s slipper or my mother’s snipped nail. The white-tipped moon. Moon like a honeysuckle tongue. Moon like a hook from behind a stage curtain. The letter C on its back. A cat’s closed eye. The curve in a scissor, where three of my fingers fit just so.


Lydia Gwyn is the author of the flash collections: You'll Never Find Another (2021, Matter Press) and Tiny Doors (2018, Another New Calligraphy). Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in F(r)iction, Midway Journal, Anti-Heroin Chic, The Florida Review, New World Writing Quarterly, and others. A selection of her stories and poems is slated to appear in Ravenna Press’s Triples Series in late 2023. She lives with her family in East Tennessee, where she works as an academic librarian.

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