In the Round
She could study the design of his tattoo without awkward staring since the band’s stage was set in the middle of the cafe, his shoulder molded his guitar as he worked the strings. The wide petals of some sort of flower dominated his bicep with the word “lucky” inked underneath. All curved. The vaginal shape reminded her of an O’Keefe painting. When he was done singing he told her it was his lucky Iris. By the softening of his mouth as he answered, she sensed Iris was a woman from the past. She would have loved to have known that woman. A woman who inspired a floral tattoo instead of the usual skull-n-bones theme. Must be the kind of woman whose former loves kept her letters hidden in their middle-aged dresser drawers. Old love notes with flowers braided as her signature. She must be some inspiration. Some sort of Ruth among the Rachels of this world. Perennial and brave. Chaste but all curves. Seducing deep earthy songs plucked from his chords.
That through the Woods Ran
Near the back of a widow’s property the roof-fallen shed was stippled with lichen. In the afternoon light, its wall colors fell an octave lower— red softened to garnet and whiteness muted to gray. Women who live alone notice these things, during their quarterly hour vigils, as they peer through a liminal of glass into the hushed world. A quiet broken only by the whistling of a huntsman in the fur-deep woods. Under evening skies, she knew the forest smells began to itch— musk erupting the surrounds and moss scaling the air. The widow never went back there. There by the fur-deep woods where a huntsman whistled. She wasn’t a squeamish sort, she’d grown up farm-furled and weary-worn by every chore that life entailed. Yet, she refused to go back there. Her husband had kept an axe leaning against the shed, where its back wall hid the butchering—poultry, hog, or game—from view. Few people knew all the chores farm life entails. And fewer still who have counted the paces between a widow’s heartbeat and a huntsman’s next whistle.
She was born with an Om marking above the left temple. Her parents called her Windy and had the symbol tattooed over with a butterfly. That’s when the visions went aloft. Startling. Erratic. There were stained glass beehives on a Tennessee hillside that housed nothing. Down in Tijuana, a Mexican child planted a seed that grew an art gallery. Across a Brooklyn park a rainbow began reciting Victor Hugo's Les Misérables. Then infinitely darker scenes. Sounds of wing and ripple. Her fearful moments resonated in doublings. While she immersed her head in a baptismal font, it rained owls in Paris.
Catherine Moore is the author of three chapbooks and the forthcoming “Ulla! Ulla!” (Main Street Rag Publications). Her work appears in Tahoma Literary Review, Caesura, Tishman Review, Southampton Review, Still: the Journal, Mid-American Review and in various anthologies. She’s been awarded a Walker Percy and a Hambidge fellowship, her honors also include the Southeast Review’s Gearhart Poetry Prize, a Nashville MetroArts grant, inclusion in the juried “Best Small Fictions of 2015” and Pushcart nominations. Catherine holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and she teaches at a community college. She’s tweetable @CatPoetic.