Julie the Astonishing (How She Bore Her Physical Pain)

She died many times. She died

in her head. Her soul died. The long


waves of her spirit died. Her heart

was a statue in room no one entered.


One night she went with her friends

to see the loud rock band whose


members dressed like zombies.

A man, the guitarist, wore a tattered


business suit. One gray foot dragged

the floor of the stage; his shoe, pointless,


lay turned on its side. She stood and watched

until pain rose up, a horror-movie


demon. The demon took her into

his lap while the music blazed into her eye


sockets, and he dug his nails into

the different parts of her body.


A latch clicked and she fell below

the earth, unlit by sons of men.


God gives riches, bread, green things, light.

But there is no ointment for this falling.

Julia Story is the author of Post Moxie (Sarabande Books), winner of the Ploughshares 2010 John C. Zacharis First Book Award, and a chapbook, The Trapdoor (dancing girl press). Her recent work can be read at Sixth Finch, Gulf Coast, and Diode. She is 2016 recipient of a Pushcart Prize and lives in Somerville, MA with her husband and two Dachshunds.