31 JANUARY 2012


   Born into Fog
   Ribbon Dance
   When Having a Foul Mouth

About Amber L. Whittle



Born into Fog

That was the time the fog was so thick we walked into it, naked, to lose each other. I heard your voice calling, coming from everywhere. I laughed and it sounded around.

I couldn’t see you, but you said, “Open your mouth.”

“Why?” I called.

“Can you taste it? Open your mouth.”

You caught the light from the street. You looked gold among the white.

“The clouds. Taste it,” you called.

You grabbed me from behind. Our bodies disappeared in the mist, drowned in the clouds.

That was the time we danced in the street because no one could see us. We disappeared in the heavens, exposed and open to each other. You rested your head on my shoulder, your lips on my neck. “Dance with me forever,” you said. How was that not forever?

That was the time you said, “Let’s leave our bed.” The clouds were on the ground. “Let’s get lost and find ourselves again.” And you took my hand and led me outside. You brushed your lips against mine and then you were gone. You called through the fog. You cut the air and told me to seek. You circled around and called to me through the thick. You dared me to find you. I stuck my hands out, blindly searching. Your voice echoed and fell again. “Taste it. Taste the world.”

The fog rolled thicker into me. My body wrapped around the clouds. I lost my feet and groped the air. I sought and sought, but you were gone. Eraptured in the clouds. “Taste it,” you said. I could not find you, so I stuck out my tongue. It tasted like you.




I try to think of myself years from now, the quiet in me accustomed to other people’s stubbornness.

I try to think of myself away from the dream of our children, of the house we made together. I try to walk along a beach somewhere by myself, shoes in hand, my arms stretched out, trying to balance along the sea. I try to think of what it will mean to remember you then.

If I had not met you when I did, who would I be? If I hadn’t met you at all? The mess of me would live on, but I wouldn’t have the mess of you to carry with me, too.

That burden is the heaviest.

The sea is the place to drown. Carry your belongings with you and cast them away. The tide comes promising a new home. I washed your things and set salt to the wounds.

Even alone, I cannot forget you.




Where the back of your neck touches your spine, the spot that fits my pieces in the puzzle whose cover is turned up-side down on the carpet, that is the spot space meets something, and home is built from top to bottom.

Cut my locks to get rid of the dread, your fingers wrapped around while you suck your thumb, slumbering inside of me. Why give birth when death is perpetual? I fit the mold of something not molded, potential energy for a time when creativity rolls around on your tongue like the jawbreaker missing flavor, sucked of life.

Dig my nails into a bloody orange, pulp flying in spaces where matter does not matter. “We eat the smile and spit out the teeth.” Too sour, too sweet; sweat and blood miss the places we used to call ours.

What belongs when nothing can be owned?

I stand on the back of a bird named trepidation, flying low enough to the ground to not risk a broken leg if falling is what the gods desire. I won’t build my wings, but borrow from someone who got it right the first time. A giant eye looks me up and down, silent judgment on someone afraid of taking chances.

Seventeen is as close to seventy as sixty-nine; the cat that sunbathes on a windowsill broken and jagged, where only paws nimble enough to jump from a twenty foot high tree and live to tell the tale can afford leisurely pursuits.

The big fits inside the small; a rectangle is a square is a diamond tilted on its axis spinning in a sphere around a fixed point just waiting to explode.

I am too small for my own good. I love too much to fit inside my head or hand.

What is the point aside from the point of my pen making strokes I can only hope to impersonate?
I carry an esc button with me everywhere I go, blindly picked up before I knew that you were the one who left it. Coincidences coincide with the butterfly flying around my ribcage. I named him Fluffy. Oddly enough, he is the same butterfly used in good or bad, when nausea does not find a difference, and a phone call at 3 a.m. is ambiguous, a point on a line that arrows a message either way.

I want to be so small I won’t fit. This creature just roars its unhappiness, fire-breathing and eating candied apples in a cave high above the sea.

Nothing is wrong when everything is.



Ribbon Dance

My face is full of teeth. All I want to do is eat. Eat the past, eat the future, eat my insides out. I did a ribbon dance today. Nothing would stay still. All I could see was orange flying around and I tackled her to the ground.

We discussed rape in a circle on the sunlit lawn. The falling leafy different colored trees. She said she could not forget. I would do everything to remember. Rape, and I could only think of cartwheels.

My hands are full of eyes. Squish. What would the world be if I could only see with my hands? Blink across the sweeping motion of wind blown grass. Cry with palms turned to fists so you could not see.

Holding hands would only be a kiss.

Someone asked about you today. My ears turned to pendulums. Your name swung back and forth across the barrier of sound. I could not hear. The answer I gave was vague. Vagueness turns to forgetfulness. There you go.

There is a lot to history. Sides are poorly drawn.

I want to eat my teeth. My heart eats beats.



When Having a Foul Mouth

She uncocked her pistol and loaded it into my mouth.

She’ll never know this exists.

I held my hand out to her. Palm up. She traced the lines one by one. I closed my eyes.

We played a game when we were away. Where am I touching you?

Here, I’d say. No, there. Convinced if I just concentrated hard enough, I could feel your next move.

The secret to the game was you were always hitting below the belt.

We thought we could wish ourselves into being together, into fitting against each other. We were always pitted against each other.

A cunning bitch. A cunning cunt. She taught me that word, taught me how to cuss, taught me how to kiss. All things to do with the lips.

Before she left she promised a letter once a week. She addressed envelopes one by one. She scattered them among a project that said good bye. She left the lips unlicked. Everything was open.

Paper and people can be torn. Ripped to shreds.

I’m touching you here, she’d say. Does it matter, she’d say.

The end result is always the same. Something is still fucked.




is from Nashville, Tennessee. She’s studying Creative writing and social welfare at Augustana College where she edits for the art and literary magazine called Saga. She also works as a photographer for the college photo bureau and is the assistant editor for the Arts and Entertainment section of the college newspaper.