A Tea Party with Death
Writer/Director: Christine Stoddard
Models: Erica Breig, Helen Georgia Stoddard, and Tia-Marie Brown
Dear Tragically Beautiful Young Soul,
You are cordially invited to a tea party with Lady Death on the 31st of October, 2010. Please arrive at the clover-green hill overlooking the West part of the city by 3 p.m. Lady Death does not tolerate tardiness. Therefore, leave your “fashionably late” mentality tucked in your wardrobe, behind those rags you would never dare wear in public.
For that matter, please dress in your finest black attire. Hats, gloves, and pearls, though not required, are encouraged. Lady Death expects cleanliness and even modesty. Sloppy wretches, in her almighty opinion, do not deserve coffins.
Lastly, bring nothing more than your perfectly coiffed self. Food is not necessary as Lady Death does not eat. Wine, too, would go unappreciated. Lady Death drinks nothing but tea and blood.
Please keep the aforementioned at the front of your mind. Lady Death deserves your full concentration—and she will ensure that she occupies every thought crawling through your head.
May slimy skin, dry veins, and decaying eyes be in your future.
Lady Death's Handmaiden
By Luna Lark
I should begin with an apology, Squirrel. I did not wish to take your life.
When the sky was green and the grass was blue, my mother used to read me Aesop's Fables. She'd sink into a deep velvet armchair and then unfold her glasses. Once bespectacled, she slowly turned the golden pages of her age-old tome so I could admire all the illustrations. I learned about the lion and the mouse, the fox and the crow, the frog and the ox...and many others.
But after hearing “The Sportsman and the Squirrel,” I never imagined I would become the Sportsman.
House of Glass
By Ruth Dominguez
i live in a glass house
violent whispers from fiery tongues
in the winter the ice perpetually
creeps forward, inching slowly
and retreating again from the
as if oceans' tide
during the night
the windows in icy formations
of various fractions and angles
and during sunrise
they melt away
the clear view of
the sun is my friend and enemy
in my glass house i accept sunrays
in their full force
on cloudless days
sunset is nostalgic
and dusk is the
of dying lovers
i observe the sun's
color of the world
from views in my glass house
my pipes are glass
and even my waste
is delicately seeped in solar energy
i flush, shower,
and gargle in the sun
in the evening i climb
my winding-stair of glass
comb my hair with a glass comb
lay flat on my bed
and wait for the sky
and pierce with star-light
my motion on the orbiting,
is as a jagged clear crystal
victim of fog
The Quail's Heart
By Christine Stoddard
In a land neither here nor there roamed a stressed—some might say aggrieved--quail. If she had had thumbs, she would have twiddled them until they became raw. Instead, she had wings and she dared not twiddle them because she feared her feathers would fall out. That would not do for such a vain little creature. Thus she continued agonizing over the plight of motherhood with all of her feathers intact.
If the quail could have hired a surrogate mother, she would've made the phone call right away. But such an option does not yet exist for quails. And even if it did, they would have to begin using phones and printing their own phone book first. Otherwise, how would anyone get in touch with a surrogate?
The quail hated motherhood for several reasons. She did not look forward to her plump figure becoming even plumper. She also decided that, with a lifespan of only four or five years, it did not seem just that she should have to spend at least half of it tending to hungry, shrieking “goblins.” The quail did not want to find seed for anyone but herself. She figured she exercised enough as it was.
After bitterly carrying 18 little eggs inside of herself for months, the quail laid them as quickly as could. With her lady parts still sore, she promptly left the eggs to attend a retreat. Being a quail, she had no nails and therefore did not consider getting a “mani” or “pedi”--, though, being as vain as she was, the quail would've if she could've. But sitting and complaining about motherhood to other animal mothers instead of to a nail technician seemed plain fine to her.
Two-thirds a Love Poem
By Nick Chandler
If I could just touch your ankle.
Like a light and hollowed breeze
who’s breath tugs at your hem line
Then, in a slip, recedes back into
the new world, over old and fresh-built
homes as it remembers itself, cold and ephemeral
hungry and lost, as it grazes more feet
and laps at the misty heated windows