December 21, 2018 by The Citron Review

by Tara Isabel Zambrano


After his death, my husband lives in the walls and fixtures of our home. They rumble and shake when he’s pacing inside them, bulge and contract. Sometimes, an outline of a face emerges out of the paint, I blink hard, and it’s gone.

My husband loved our home, the soft paneling, the silk lanterns, high ceilings, low wooden sofas and our king size four-poster bed. The French windows, a green echo of trees outside.

In the beginning I didn’t know he was there. I mean there wasn’t much to do before and after work, except to sleep, eat and stare at nothing or fall asleep while watching the TV, holding the remote as if it was his hand. Until one day, while taking a shower, I looked at the vent, and felt a rush of his breath on my face, a familiar cocktail of smells – Old Spice mixed with Listerine. He felt so near, and I stood naked, long after I’d finished, covered in goose bumps, trying to enfold my body in his scent.

In the dim lit evenings, when I return from work, our home looks dark and deserted, but I know he’s inside, sliding in the pipes, or crouched behind the toilet, or waiting in the closet. Often, I rest my head against the wall and sense his fingers in my hair, easing the day. A door hatch inside me opens. I let him in. Together we watch porn, try out different poses that I wasn’t comfortable doing when he was alive. Afterwards, the bed gently rocks me to sleep, stacks my dreams on the side table, next to a broken clock and a dusty statue of a laughing Buddha.

For months we go on. I stop going to work. Dirty laundry piles up on the floor, unread mail stacks up on the kitchen counter. My head feels fuzzy. Something pulses between my legs desperately, constantly. I hear his heartbeat beneath the ground, deep and low. “You’re dead,” I say out loud one day, I write it down a hundred times. Then I load the laundry, pour chemicals on the floor, the scent of polish fills my head. The task of waxing and buffing makes me forget.

When I finish and walk outside, the sky is the color of a tinted church window. From the driveway, our home hunches like an old man−a stone exterior on the front, vinyl sidings, and a sick yellow inside the lamps. The kitchen garden is a swamp, the rose bush is dead. It has rained recently, the mud caking around my feet, more and more with each step.

In the backyard, hangs a birdhouse, there’s shit all over it. Birds come in and go. A lumpy silhouette of a forgotten grill, a picnic table that needs a fresh coat of paint. Whispery glints of fallen leaves. I sit on the patio floor. The concrete is hard and cold. I am on my hands and knees―my body low on the ground like a strange, ancient creature, listening to the low vibration of him―muffled words admitting his want, my restraint falling away like daylight―and then only stars, a heat of blush traveling up my neck, the fabric of his breath shaped around me like a shimmering gown.


Her work has won the first prize in The Southampton Review Short Short Fiction Contest 2019, been a Finalist in Bat City Review 2018 Short Prose Contest and Mid-American Review Fineline 2018 Contest. A list of her published stories is at https://taraisabelzambrano.wixsite.com/website

One thought on “Enfold

  1. […] Enfold by Tara Isabel Zambrano in the Citron Review […]

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


🍋10th Anniversary

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

🍋 Instagram

Congratulations to our poetry editors, EIC @ambrommel and Managing Editor @ericsteineger, and the @aulamfa students and alumni featured in December Shout Outs for their recent publications. #amreading #newwork #TheCitronReview #community #AntiochMFA
The epic title of Mary Morris​' micro "I Try to Get Out of the Way So the Soul May Draw Near" hints at the depth of our stories hidden from view. This piece sings in our Fall issue. https://citronreview.com/2019/09/23/i-try-to-get-out-of-the-way/ #amreading #microfiction
Our EIC @ambrommel read in Flagstaff last Monday at the Narrow Chimney Reading Series @uptownpubhouse. She found citrons at her Airbnb! Send us your #CitronStories! Poetry and fiction close December through January, but CNF reads year-round. #amreading #amediting #citrusygoodness🍋🍋🍋 #TheCitronReview #onlinejournal #briefliterature #celebratingtheshortform #cheersto10years #eatmoreart
Time flies like the snow! There's only one week left until December and we're still reading for Winter (and Spring) issues. Send us your best! https://citronreview.com/submission/ #amsubmitting #amwriting
This spiky new piece of creative nonfiction from Eleanor Levine is sure to prick your interest. https://citronreview.com/2019/09/23/hebrew-girl/ Eleanor Levine's writing has appeared in more than 70 publications, including Fiction, Evergreen Review, The Toronto Quarterly, Faultline, Maryland Literary Review, South Dakota Review, and others. A poetry collection, Waitress at the Red Moon Pizzeria, (Unsolicited Press) was published in 2016. Her short story collection, Kissing a Tree Surgeon, has been accepted for publication by Guernica Editions. #amreading #flashcnf
Fiction Editor JR Walsh luxuriates in micros shaken and most definitely stirred. https://citronreview.com/2019/09/23/notes-on-the-micro-fiction-selections/ #amreading #microfiction

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

%d bloggers like this: