Smoke in the Water

1

October 2, 2017 by The Citron Review

by Mandy Shunnarah

 

The lazy river curves in its oval trajectory—curves expected, built into its form. Nothing like my newly mounting curves bulging from the swimsuit bought two summers ago in the children’s section.

Some friends’ fathers avert their eyes, sneaking cigarettes for distraction. Others stare with abandon, just as their daughters stared at the downy hair billowing under my arms as we changed in the communal restroom.

Me, conscious of being stared at. Them, conscious of the indecorum of being caught staring.

A patch of blood forms on my sun-yellow swimsuit bottoms, disfiguring the printed hibiscus flowers.

“Go on and get in the water,” a mother who is not mine tells me. “It’ll go away when you get in the water.” She rubs the cross around her neck like a worry stone and thrusts an inner tube toward me, ushering me out of the way—dreading the looming discussion with her own child.

I hear her mumble, “Bless her heart. Let’s offer her up at prayer circle,” to another mother, who only shakes her head.

Offer me up. Another sacrificial body: someone to pray for, condescend to, lord over.

In the tradition of generations of women before me, I do as I’m told and don’t ask questions.

I slink into the water, the space between my legs scarlet like the lit end of a cigarette, blood curling like a waft of smoke behind me, disappearing before anyone notices.

 

Mandy Shunnarah is a writer and book reviewer living in Columbus, Ohio. Her essays and reviews have been published in Entropy magazine, PANK, The Missing Slate, and New Southerner magazine. Her work is forthcoming in Fourth Genre and other publications. To read more, visit her website, offthebeatenshelf.com.

One thought on “Smoke in the Water

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Mushrooms

🍋10th Anniversary

Fall 2019 IssueSeptember 23rd, 2019
Cheers to 10 great years!

🍋 Instagram

Grab a two foot scrap of wood and step up to home plate with Ronald Hartley in "Batting Stones." https://citronreview.com/2019/09/23/batting-stones/ Hartley's stories have been published by Sky Island Journal, Literary Juice, After the Pause, Gravel Magazine and Mobius: The Journal for Social Change. #amreading #flashfiction
We're reading for our Winter Issue, but a deadline is coming soon. Please consider submitting your best poetry, flash, and micros before December 1. Our editors will continue reading creative nonfiction through the new year, but we'd love to see your excellent work even sooner. https://citronreview.com/submission/ #TheCitronReview #onlinejournal #briefliterature #celebratingtheshortform #cheersto10years #Citron10 #callforsubmissions #poetry #cnf #fiction
Marissa Hoffman's creative nonfiction covers the directions that a life may take in "A Route Plan From Dad to Dad." https://citronreview.com/2019/09/23/a-route-plan-from-dad-to-dad/ #amreading #flashcnf Marissa Hoffman has published FlashBack Fiction, Bending Genres, and The Drabble. She is a fiction reader for Atticus Review.
Managing Editor Eric Steineger illuminates ten years of Citron Poetry. https://citronreview.com/2019/09/23/notes-on-the-poetry-selections-12/
When raising children is like "Fighting with God," Jennifer Woodworth dives into each poetic moment. https://citronreview.com/2019/09/23/fighting-with-god/ Jennifer Woodworth is the author of the chapbook, How I Kiss Her Turning Head (Monkey Puzzle Press.) Her writing has appeared in Bending Genres Journal, The Eastern Iowa Review, Star 82 Review, among others. Her blog is fishclamor.com. #amreading #poetry
Micro fiction by Frances Gapper has us in a "Curious" mood. https://citronreview.com/2019/09/23/curious/ Frances Gapper has 3 story collections including: The Tiny Key (Sylph Editions). Her “Plum Jam” won FlashBack Fiction's 2018 Microfiction Contest and is included in 2019's Best Microfiction. #amreading #microfiction

Enter your email address to follow us and receive notifications of new issues by email.

%d bloggers like this: