Volume 3 Number 1 • Spring 2011

DaMaris Hill


Some swore the house was haunted, because she refused to leave. She couldn't remember when she became imprisoned between vacuum tracks in every rug. Hair, skin, clothes, dishes, washed. The soap and water unscented and lukewarm, she couldn't stand the smell of steam. She ate raw bland foods, some things boiled, but quickly cooled and never seasoned. Her ambitions included staying clean and never sneezing. No husband, children or pets. She didn't drive a car, only rode a bike or roller-skated from time to time indoors for the past three years. She wore long sleeves and gloves when people came to visit. She let them look beyond the glass doors of the sun porch into her pristine house. She advised them to use the restroom before they arrived. She remembered the boy in the bubble and interlocked her fingertips, squeezed real tight, she pressed so firmly between her knuckles that she had time to watch the blood pinken the spaces as she said amen. Contact with anything seemed to annoy her. She was like a fuzzy dandelion. Something that interested you as it unraveled and floated away.

She dressed loose and long like a nun in gauze. Who would heal? She washed several times a day. Her own perspiration must stings. Her house had many open windows, she floated through each. There was a lawn with trees, willows, but no potted flowers. She requested that the boy prune the wild ones with the weeds. The money for its maintenance always silver coins in a white envelope in the mail slot. She never wore nail polish and blushed her fingertips at the thought of touching. Books with white backs and glue binds, her only indulgence. No magazines. She was afraid of smells. She wrote notes in mechanical pencils and hard leads. And when the illiterate imbecile ignored the posted sign that redirected delivered letters away from the door, nothing was ever the same after that.

DaMaris B. Hill is a doctoral student in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Kansas. Her story "On the Other Side of Heaven - 1957" won the 2003 Hurston/Wright Award for Short Fiction. Some of her writing has been published with the Reverie, Bermuda Anthology of Poetry, African American National Biography Project, Warpland, Mourning Katrina: A Poetic Response to Tragedy, Women in Judaism and The Sable Quill.