Carlee Bouillon, excerpt from
"You Should Be There (When They Go)"

Wind makes horses skittish. It carries unknown smells. Chinook winds crashing into the valley from the Rockies smell like storms. Horses run from storms. Storms made Larissa skittish. They made barn roofs crash and sound like ghosts, I guessed. Sound like ladies with red hair who are blue everywhere else, shoving through stall doors and rooting through hay bales, calling Larissa? Where are you. Larissa said one time they got close to her and told her in soft voices that she should take off all her clothes and kiss them; that she would then be blue and untouchable and invincible.

“I’m hurrying,” I said, and because I was sorry we had to be at the barn, I said “we’ll be done soon, just think about something else,” while I dropped Hamilton’s foot inch by inch into the water, letting him adjust to the temperature.

That made Larissa angry. “It’s not in my head,” she said, lurching to stick her face close to my face. “I can’t just think of something else!” And her lurch yanked Hamilton’s head down and made him stumble over the bucket for balance.

His foot landed hard into the bottom of the bucket with the tip of my right pinkie still wrapped around the edge of his nail. I howled and shoved on his shoulder with my free hand to move him, but he did his stubborn thing and leaned heavy against my shove. So then his nail flattened the end of that finger right away. It bled into the water and turned the Epsom bath a dusty rose-pink.




From The Malahat Review's summer issue #215