He loves me, a salty woman made of sobs with knobs and handles and spigots that bob and weave salt pebble wishes drips down my face — until no more tears dissolve and my lot of wife that has looked too late, too long — fades. He’s happy for a while to while away time sleeping next to a rough pillar, strong woman statue, kiss-licking away my tears and sadness until his soup is seasoned without sprinkles and shakes. I remember before he joined me, joined us, when I had weeping willow weeps stored in tear ducts and root ducts and more than enough for aqueducts, ancient ones that fed cities with salty tears and salty tap water until everyone had cracked lips and cracked faces and cried enough to make my eyes dry centuries later. We honeymoon stood on Biankini Beach together, touching hands, watching a rusty water needle pulling and bobbing through an aqua textile salty sea, watching Poseidon quilting (his new hobby) as my children squares grew, tied together with salt water taffy and salt water salt, solid at seams with compound initials, a new monogram embroidered in squid and seaweed black, appraised at Antiques Roadshow as nicely made, an antique but of little value, covered in salt spray molded gently at corners, needing restoration. I didn’t listen and put it back on our watery bed so we could hear, feel, smell the ocean when we napped, my salt skin flaking into the satin sheets as the sun set, sets, he loves me not.

Amy Barnes has words at FlashBack Fiction, Popshot Quarterly, X-RAY Lit, The Molotov Cocktail, Lucent Dreaming, Anti-Heroin Chic, Flash Frog, Janus Literary, Perhappened, Cabinet of Heed, Spartan Lit and others. She’s a Fractured Lit associate editor, Gone Lawn co-editor and reads for Narratively, Retreat West, NFFD, CRAFT, The MacGuffin, and Taco Bell Quarterly. Her work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Best Microfiction, and longlisted for Wigleaf50 in 2021. Her debut flash collection Mother Figures was published by ELJ Editions in June, 2021. A full length collection is forthcoming from word west in spring, 2022.