Sarah A. Chavez – Halfbreed Helene Goes Outside to Cry

Sarah A. Chavez

Halfbreed Helene Goes Outside to Cry

The pressure that wells 
in her throat threatens 
to choke, but this is not 
the time (this is never 
the time). She nods, 
even though the voice 
that whispers these words 
is on the phone. 

When gone and this morning 
and I didn’t want to tell you
and no, you don’t need
to fly back yet register,
the walls of her rented
room begin to close. 
What hours earlier was 
spacious and airy, sun-
light like an afternoon
aura has become tight, 
invisibly pressing her 
ribs. It’s hard to move
toward the door, her 
legs so unsteady she
stumbles, bruising a 
shoulder on the jamb.

The entrance to the yard
is just off the hallway. 
Rickety rotting wood porch 
Soft beneath her feet. She sits
on the step, presses
her head between her knees
and tries to breath. 

The voice on the other end
says something resembling
a leaving. H waits until
there is a click, like the
way phones used to signal

When everything is silent
save the cacophony of 
birds singing in the eucalyptus 
and cedar elm that ring
the yard, Helene crawls over,
eyelashes glued and glowing,
to a bare patch in the grass,
digs her fingers into the dirt
making what resembles 
the bite from a large and
ravenous animal. She tilts 
her head toward the hollows
ready to release whatever
might fall from her face. 

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