The Sizes and Shapes of Things
Beth Thomas

In your leaving, you took the hammer and removed all the nails you could find. Into the toolbox they went, next to the screws from the door hinges, all of the light switches, the television remote control, the knobs for the stove burners.

Night comes, and mud frogs chirp in your voice from the hole where the porch was. A fallen trellis lies on its back over the joists; morning glories crawl over its belly.

You took things in your leaving, things I now have to replace. I act out the sizes and shapes of things in a game of charades with the hardware store clerk. This long, maybe, the screws? He offers up several, but I don't know which is right.

I go home and get a barren hinge, tote it to the screw aisle, try various sizes for fit and function. I buy the screws but steal the nails, just a couple of each dropped into a jacket pocket. Fair is fair.

You took my panties, my pillows, towels, blankets, things that have felt me naked. You took my right shoes, so to passers-by I have two left feet in unmatched sandals.

Two days later and the doors hang crooked but protective and the nails are all replaced. Dawn comes and there is a desperate rustling under the porch. The trellis is a foot too short and the joists are uneven. What was meant to be a ladder for morning glories is now a green and flowering coffin for frogs.

Beth Thomas lives in Las Vegas. Her fiction has appeared in PANK, Los Angeles Review, Corium and others.

Read more of her work in the archive.

Detail of art on main page courtesy of Sarah G.

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