Editors' Pick

Dark-Eyed Junco

Doesn’t the name bring to mind a dangerous woman
at a table in the back corner of a smoky bar? The kind
you walk into after disembarking from a six-month stint
trawling the ocean, your skin indiscernible from salted cod?
Aren’t you both afraid and compelled by her, cloaked as she is
in her dark gray hood, shoulders fledged in brown and slate
shawls, kohl-lined eyes, blackened lashes, the hem of her
rusty skirts brushing the floor, hiding – what? Her feet could be
bare, toes spreading for purchase on the planks. Her hands are
laid out like a Royal Flush on the beer-soaked tabletop, tending
her Tarot, her back a rod against the curved oak chair. Even as
you approach, you know the morning’s coffee will taste of
regret as well as chicory, but that isn’t enough to still
your tracks. It’s her eyes – steady, not the jitter of birds –
that have you, like a brew swallowed in one gulp, or a bowl
of steaming mussels in brine, shells slurped out and fingers
cracking blue wings, searching in the crevices for meat.




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