Marc’s head blurs above mine. I pull my hips up, wrap my legs tight. Now he whimpers in his sleep. Marc, I say, shaking him. Marc. His eyes are in some bleak country when he slams his fist in my face. He’s awake now, rushing back to himself. He wants to explain. To tell me what horrors he’s relived. But I hold up my hand. Something has closed inside me.
Later, while he snores, I dream of embroidering his face on white flannel. Careful black stitches edge the long nose. I color his lips vermillion. Two thin lines stitched shut.
Lori Van Houten has exhibited her artwork internationally. She has been awarded residencies in County Kerry, Ireland, and Kyoto Prefecture, Japan. Her work is in the collections of the New York Public Library, the International Center of Photography, St. Louis Art Museum, the Daum Museum of Contemporary Art, as well as university and corporate collections.