The snow pile in the middle of the cul-de-sac, once shaped like the Matterhorn, has shrunk and gone sooty. There's a half-eaten sandwich at its base. I kick some snow over it. Supreme the neighbor dog paws it out and eats it.
I call my mother and tell her about about the new wrinkle on my forehead, deeper than the others. I tell her about the dentist. All these things are happening to my body. I hear her chewing.
Why do you care, she says. You were never that pretty.
My tongue is strong because I have figured out a trick and it's this: If you press your tongue hard to the roof of your mouth and make a half-smile, it makes your neck look younger and firmer. After my dentist appointment, I had driven to King Soopers and sat sobbing in my car. An old guy tapped on the window. He gave me his monogrammed hanky and a lecture on ninety degree parking.
Supreme the dog belongs to the man across the street. He’d once had a wife, but she died in her sleep soon after they were married. He said for six weeks all he did was drive around eating Taco Bell with the radio blasting. He rescued Supreme from a puppy mill. She’d had so many litters her nipples were raw and hard as pebbles.
My mother says I shouldn’t take the new job in the new city. She reminds me how often I get lost. Even with GPS and that takes some doing, she says. Have you forgotten those three months in St. Louis?
My tongue is strong because I hold it so much.
When I meditate, I listen to Solfeggio tones through my headphones. I have some things to get over and my doctor said it will release my anxiety and open my Third Eye. My doctor isn't a real doctor but she makes me feel better. I lie back and imagine I'm in the dentist chair and they are all telling me how good I am. How I am no trouble at all. Behind my eyelids I see snow and tongues and teeth. I see my own neck, long and smooth as the stem of a daisy.
Kathy Fish teaches flash fiction for the Mile High MFA program at Regis University in Denver. She has published four collections of short fiction: a chapbook in the Rose Metal Press collective, A Peculiar Feeling of Restlessness: Four Chapbooks of Short Short Fiction by Four Women (2008); Wild Life (Matter Press, 2011); Together We Can Bury It (The Lit Pub, 2012); and Rift, co-authored with Robert Vaughan (Unknown Press, 2015). Her story, “A Room with Many Small Beds” was chosen by Stuart Dybek for inclusion in Best Small Fictions 2016 (Queen’s Ferry Press). She blogs at http://www.kathy-fish.com/.