MIKEY COMES HOME
by Karla Cordero
When I was eight my father told me
Mikey our pet turtle ran away from
home. I dusted the aquarium for
fingerprints. Made reward posters
out of construction paper and outlined
Mikey’s smile with jungle green crayon.
I interviewed all three of my sisters
and checked under each of their beds.
A week later I found Mikey in the
backyard. His body was a murder
scene on fresh cut grass. An explosion
of pink and purple organs from an
unknown violence. A shell
split into tiny fruit bowls soaked
in fresh blood. Flies paraded
on a face I could no longer identify.
I buried my first body under the
lemon tree with a beach shovel.
I hosed down the rest of the carcass and
watched a piece of intestine slide down
a single blade of grass. My father came outside
with whiskey on his breath. He smiled
and said what kind of an animal runs away
from a home that gives you everything?
Karla Cordero is a writer, performer, and educator. She is currently an MFA candidate in creative writing at San Diego State University. Cordero is a contributing writer for Poetry International and cofounder and editor for Spit Journal, an online literary review for performance poetry. Her work is published and forthcoming in Cease, Cows, The California Journal of Women Writers, and theNewerYork Press.