Joke – a story by Mary Breaden

Joke

 

#Blessed: A man and a woman recline in the golden hour. Their eyes are halfway lidded; their irises are cornflowers. She wears cherry. Ripeness is the color of young lust.

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A picture is what liars reveal about themselves.

 

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#Found: Once, I saw a girl of a woman who took pictures of her toes pointed towards oddities and distressed curios; all things abandoned by strangers. Her toes were arrowed expressions she thought no one wished to hear.
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Silence within the frame—anguish without. An excellent composition may require you to move the body.

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She knows that at some point, she will have to photograph her face.

 

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#Missing: If he had the time to think about it, he would have published the one photograph he thought told the entirety of the entire summer trip. Him alone, inebriated by lunch, flying through the air after tripping on cobble stones and the face of painfearwonder and he could not stop himself from laughing when he landed on the prosaically sweet Grecian street.

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Not pictured: The whiteheat of domed buildings rising up from the ocean or the thick, impenetrably blue water.

 

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#DarkLight: Her dark eyes know they miss so much.

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Her eyes were the ones who could make art from neglect. They were the ones who crouched, or sat, or let themselves naked on down to the floor to look at a crack in the wall where a broken tooth of plaster resembled a dragon.

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They were the ones who would make darkness encroach upon a photograph until, then, the unknown marvels whispered a spell, touched the air, and the monster emerged.

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Horrifying lives frame themselves within walls and under beds and beneath freeways and inside of discarded pop cans.

 

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#Sweat: The heat is just a joke. The heat is a test she’s walked out on.

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July evening hunger. A chilled bottle. A wine extracted from the caverns of a cooler and the joke of that pleasure, that saunter down the avenue’s wants with a black plastic bag, yes, stuck to the sweaty crook of her arm, but inside the plastic, ice cube bottle blues. She has fallen into the waves, breached cloudy waters, freezing waters, and she emerges clutching treasure.

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Ever listening, failing, close.

 

Mary Breaden is an Oregonian native living in Brooklyn. By early morning light, she writes, and during business hours, she works for a social services nonprofit. She and Andrea Janda founded an experimental literary journal, Visitant, in 2016. Mary’s work has been published in Education Week, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Joyland, the Fanzine, Queen Mob’s Teahouse, Persistent Visions, The Mondegreen, the Portland State Vanguard, and Portland Book Review. She was selected as an Emerging Writer in the Lamprophonic Reading Series and nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2015.

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