Frankie and the Heart

The girl has no heartbeat. She is otherwise normal but she has no heartbeat to keep her time. She lives alone and keeps an immaculate house on a street of purple jacarandas and lets no one in for fear of dirt and fever.

The boy has lost his cat. He looks for her all over the city and he’s losing hope but he can’t stop looking. He walks in ever-widening circles around the city in the morning and at night. He yells Frankie! The cat’s name is Frankie.

The girl keeps the windows closed but the grime still seeps in. She soaks dusts bleaches vacuums irons starches polishes sweeps fluffs. She mops up her own footsteps and suds the bars of her ribcage raw.

The boy suspects Frankie is probably dead somewhere in the city that screams with speed and tires but still he stalks the streets. He nails his clothes to telephone poles for Frankie to smell and hides his things in ditches like breadcrumbs leading home. Some nights he weeps. He is otherwise normal but some nights he weeps.

The girl sleeps with earplugs in her ears and listens to the sounds of her body from the inside. Blood swirling sinew and bone and the ocean of her womb. She sleeps with earplugs and doesn’t hear the cat scratching at her door.

The boy has started drinking. It loosens the sadness from his limbs. Shadows lick the afternoon and he sees Frankie’s tail whipping round corners but he can never catch her and she never comes when he calls if she was ever there at all. The city is strewn with his scent and he is running out of clothes.

The girl cleans eternally. No one has ever been inside. She dusts the hooks of empty picture frames. The cat scratches at her door and she freezes. The cat whines and the girl buries her ears with her fists.

The boy has lost his way. The bottle is his only friend and it is no friend at all. He scrapes Frankie’s name from his throat. It’s been such a long time and his heart is beat and his feet are wasted but he can’t remember how to stop.

All night and all day the cat wails at the door of the girl. She has shut up the blinds and lies awake with earplugs at the bottom of the tub. She has been here for so long she can’t remember what it means to think of leaving.

The boy sleeps under highways now, begs for drink. He is naked, his clothes so many flags nailed to crosses across the city. Looking for a tail around every corner.

The girl has triple locked herself inside. The plugs are always in her ears. She knows the cat wants to curl up against the silence of her chest where no heart beats. She knows because she knows it’s Frankie. She knows it’s Frankie because Frankie used to be her’s. Her’s and the boy’s. The boy her heart used to beat for.

The boy who pisses in parks now. Who eats with pigeons and fights for crumbs. Who wanders dead end streets and doesn’t remember the name of his country. How can I get back he wonders and then forgets again.

The girl scrubs everything until it starts to disappear. She breathes ancient air. The windows have never been opened. She wears the silver down with polishing. The sheets are see-through banners thinned by bleach. Frankie howls outside but the girl hears only empty oceans of her womb.

The boy is more lost than ever boy was. All the words have been scorched from his mouth. His feet are raw and open wounds standing. Wounds standing in a street of purple jacarandas.

The girl has worn through the floor with sweeping, struck earth beneath the boards. The walls are scrubbed thin like wax paper and light spills suddenly through.

A tail whips behind a corner. Jacaranda blossoms shift in the wind and blow down paper walls. The girl stands in the sunlight where her house used to be. The boy is a naked gash in the street. Frankie starved between them purrs and whips her tail.

A heart beats. Then another heart.


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