“There’s No Such Thing as Still” by Raki Kopernik

June 8, 2015

For the entire month of June RESTLESS is celebrating Pride by featuring work exclusively by LGBTQ writers. Check out the “Pride2015” tag for more.

The squareness of the lower part of her face was jarring when her shoulders were exposed. She didn’t live in her shoulders or in that part of her face. She lived from the eyes up. The rest was a cartoon, a picture that seemed to belong to someone else. She was a little ugly, even to those who loved her. Love is a slipping clutch. That’s what happens when it starts to go. A thousand dollars and the engine revs high, but the body doesn’t move forward. Like the car doesn’t live together with its engine. A metal carcass with hollow parts.

It’s not that she was hollow. She was just full of holes, looking away while everyone’s fire filled her with fissures. Bull’s eye to the sternum every time.

Her curtains were brown and her bed was a single. She never took off her underwear but you did and that was okay with her. She might’ve liked it, your nudity. It was hard to tell what she liked about you. Her eyes stared, which sometimes felt like love and sometimes like the way kids stare at you on the bus, confused and intrigued. Sometimes the staring was empty.

This is what pulled you in, in the first place. Eye contact melts your bones.

The thing is, even when you’re waiting, you’re still thinking, knitting, cracking your knuckles. There’s no such thing as still. Hold your breath and nothing stops. It took you too long to know that she would never let out her breath in your face. She would just stare, quiet, turning blue. Inside your chest the oyster was cracked and a pre-teen pearl was growing.

The clutch controls power and motion. The brake stops everything. Both prevent something and both make something happen.

Next to the single bed was an orange lamp, too big for the small room. And next to that a wood paneled desk, also too big. Too big like the squareness of her jaw and the space you made for her. Her mouth was also big, but not too big. Just full. Perfect to kiss in the morning. There was nothing ugly about her mouth. You’d like to have her mouth alone and the feeling of it kissing you back, the way she let go in the moment of a kiss without eyes or thoughts.


Raki KopernikRaki Kopernik is the author of the three-part zine, Shut Up and Dance, unavailable anywhere but the bathrooms of random people, mainly on the West Coast. Her stories have been published in Monkey Puzzle, Wilde Magazine, Not Enough Night, and on her flash fiction, dream-inspired blog, Night Stories. She holds an MFA in creative writing from the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University and currently lives in Minneapolis. You can find more of her work here: https://rakikopernik.wordpress.com.

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