Written by Dia VanGunten
Art by Katy Somerville
The convertible is white on white—an ivory paint job and a tattered ragtop. The wings lower, tucking into the bird, and I rise up from the passenger seat. I ride in the clouds—no car seat, no seat belt, standing. Dad is a god behind the wheel, but he exits the car and it slips out of park before he can unhook the barbed fence. Dia! Get down! It happens too fast.
A farmer takes us to see his wife. She sops the blood, a warm wash of red, and prays. Jesus, please. This little face. I learn her language—the word ojo, two eyes with a nose—and I learn her fear. She has a big, hairy wart. I’m in the clutches of a fairy-tale witch. I leave my body to float behind the La-Z-Boy. From up there, she’s a kind old woman bent over a lucky trickster with one unpeeled cheek. Two eyes still, but just barely.
We are deep in the New Mexico mountains: No Man’s Land. The modern hospital is hours away. Dad races to the volunteer clinic, and a random man runs to meet us. He is bright-eyed and bearded, with a blond ponytail and a frayed t-shirt. He says, “I’m here with you.” He is here, and I am here, and we are here. I’m the reason why he stopped in this unlikely spot, high in the pines, with the howling coyotes. The clinic is manned by a grab bag of traveling doctors—anyone infected with hippy wanderlust. He could be a respiratory therapist or a urologist, but he’s a young plastic surgeon who has recently studied cutting-edge advances in facial reconstruction. He has volunteered in worse places and made do with less. He tells me this as he readies me for surgery.
“You held onto that eye, huh? Well, you’re gonna need it, Dia.”
The sun pours over his shoulders, and his red-gold brows fill with sparkles. I’m so small still, I can barely count forward, but I get that he’s taking me into a land of light and numbers. He stitches an eye into the middle of my brow. He sews feathers into my back. I’ll always float over the La-Z-Boy. I’ll always be of the blood; of the witch. I’ll always be repaired by roaming angels.
About the Author
Dia VanGunten explores overlaps between genres, between poetry and prose, between the real and the magical. Her current fiction project is Pink Zombie Rose. Follow @pinkzombierose for more updates.
About the Artist
Katy Somerville was beamed into existence on a Monday night in the mid-eighties by stars, glitter, and a glorious Italian woman from a long line of very strong women. In the present timeline, she likes to drink coffee, pat any animal that will engage with her, make collages, and spend time laughing and finding moments of joy wherever she can with her partner and her goofy, lanky dog.
About the Collaborator
Victor Limencello was a budgerigar who flew abruptly into an office window and ended up living with Cream Scene’s Art Director “just until his home was found.” Six years later, on the day before Halloween, he flew over the rainbow bridge, leaving behind a collection of yellow and white feathers that his humans had been collecting in a jar.
His mortal body was donated to science, while the beautiful feathers he had discarded were donated to the Cream Scene Carnival.
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