The Coil
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The Coil

Marbles, Fathers, & Animals: Excerpts from Meg Pokrass’ ‘Spinning to Mars’

Lost Marbles

Life was a parade of stories about the stuff her father did. Her unfaithful father, who had left her his marble collection.

Her mother explained how he’d been a wolf. How she would be home working, sweeping with the tall kitchen broom, and he’d wobble in looking like he just won at Russian roulette.

“The man had serious intimacy issues, but he wasn’t all bad,” she said. “He hugged like a teddy-bear. And oh, that wonderful collection of antique marbles he had!” She used to say this near Christmas.

“They must be here somewhere.”

Dry Skin

She would scream on the weekends, throw shoes at her wall. Her father’s problems itched like dry skin. She sank a wooden leaf, imagining it was her father, and still it floated.

Later, trouble had something to do with the light in her walk-in closet, the smoke from patchouli incense holding her still. Music tinted the air with who she was, who she had become. Soon, she would be meeting a boy, not her boyfriend, by the creek at midnight. The honeysuckle flowers would have already bloomed, and she would teach the new boy to suck out drops of honey from the stems on the lawn. She would show him how to be that gentle — to get the drop to come out just right.

Image: Blue Light Press. (Purchase)


Your mother said you were starting up again, like in books and movies. The first thing you understood about escaping to California was this; you would never have snow again.

You’d see it in Christmas movies. Would wave at it in the distance, glinting and winking from the peaks of the Santa Ynes mountains.

There would be Jasmine flowers, Eucalyptus trees, small butterflies. Smells that overwhelm a family with the feeling of “lucky.”

Love Street

You wanted to be live on Love Street. To steal paperbacks about salvation sex and hide them under your bed. You told yourself that one day the sound of your name would make a man sick and then well.

You grew up to be a grown-up who got smoked out by previous lovers after sneaking their animals into your life. The dog was your very first love. You were criminal friends. She’d sneak the cat’s food and you’d let her do it.

What did you plan to do with your life? Escape normalcy. Find a man with a dog and a walk-in closet and make yourself sick and then well. Feel better when smoking a man’s calmness.

Between Animals

He lay next to her on the bed, facing the wall. It had become his sleepy-time signal, the message was to leave him alone, that sex wasn’t even a remote possibility. She reminded him that he once referred to her as a ‘pet replacement.’ How a long while ago, he’d shown her photos of his lost cat, he had hundreds of them from the time the cat was a speck of white kitten.“Do you think that this might be part of the problem with us?” she said. She imagined climbing the Everest of his body, perching on the top of his belly like a sexy squid, dangling her breasts like fishing lines. He was still in love with that cat. She shouldn’t have let her hair come in white.

MEG POKRASS is the author of 8 collections of hybrid prose and flash fiction. She is the 2-time recipient of the Blue Light Book Award. Her work has appeared in hundreds of literary magazines including Electric Literature and Washington Square Review. She serves as founding Co-Editor of Best Microfiction.



Literature to change your lightbulb.

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