by Guy Mankowski
We spent winter in the bath, the bed; any womb we could find. Lily visited late at night to give me candles and deicer. My fingers had split open through frostbite. I held my bloody stumps against the flame of the candle, hoping its warmth would heal them. Lily would laugh, and say that she was the only one sane enough to keep me alive. Then she’d talk to the swallows while making pastries out of snow.
The pain was so intense that it made me reluctant to lift my pen. But I had to. I found it strange that my surrounding environment inspired me while also preventing me from writing. Snow frothed out of the ground and clambered up the trees. Lily and I huddled together and watched it swing there like an errant child refusing to come down. She’d shout at it to fall on the grass and sleep. The ice lingered round my windowsill and also refused to go. I didn’t leave the house for the whole of the winter. I had only my clumsy words, my characters, and her visits to keep me company.
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