J. A. Tyler is the author of nine books including the recently released Inconceivable Wilson (Scrambler Books, 2009) and the forthcoming A Man of Glass & All the Ways We Have Failed (Fugue State Press, 2011). He is also founding editor of Mud Luscious Press. For more, visit: mudlusciouspress.com.
Eliza’s mother pushed and pushed and pushed until she died. Eliza’s mother did everything she could to get the baby out of her body. And the baby did come out and Eliza was what they named her. The baby did come out but her mother died and so they placed a sheet atop her face, the tent of her lungs collapsed. Birds flitted in the trees outside until Eliza’s father wept. The birds saw a man crying and took to the sky. The leaves shook. Eliza was raised with knuckles and horses, rides near a winding river, Eliza’s mother unwound.
Gideon’s mother raised Gideon as a wolf. She brayed at his moon and led him in darkness to the river, to dip his paws in the water and to see the reflection of his glaring eye teeth looking back at a handsome face. Or as the younger of two boys, he was so loved for being the last that she handed him everything he wanted and Gideon grew used to taking anything he desired. Gideon liked to hold his hand over candle flames until it singed a mark in his palm. That fire was the kind of mother Gideon had.
Miller’s mother wept when her husband died and the letter reached them. It claimed that a bullet entered his love and exited his body. The ink was black and rare with paper. Miller’s mother cooked bacon and bled grease into the eggs. Miller soaked the yoke. Chickens strutted outside in a mesh hovel, shatting shells. Miller’s father, Gideon’s father, not there to raise his boys anymore. So Miller’s mother raised Miller as an owl, keeping quiet watch over it all. Gideon the wolf, Eliza the love, a father eating bullets and a mother crying penned letters. Down in this valley.