A Girl Turns To Stone

It happens more often than she would like. On the bus. After school. In the lake where the members of her basketball team like to swim after winning a big game. Once, she turned to stone mid-stroke and suddenly sank to the bottom of the lake, where whitefish darted between her arms like children running an obstacle course. Her teammates—well aware of her unusual condition—called the local authorities, who lifted her out of the water by crane; luckily, the girl had not been submerged long enough to suffer the damaging side-effects of erosion. Most often, she turns into granite—one of the strongest rocks—though she has been known on occasion to turn to quartz or marble, depending on the circumstances. After practice one day, she and a teammate grab dinner, just the two of them, and decide to share a strawberry milkshake. In the middle of dinner, the girl leans forward to take a sip from her straw, and her friend does the same, leaning over the table so their faces nearly touch. For the first time, the girl notices the light band of freckles on the bridge of her friend’s nose. When their hands touch, the girl’s skin turns a glorious shade of blue, a kind of brilliant azurite. The stone is cool to the touch, but it warms quickly under her friend’s fingers. Later that night, in the privacy of her room, the girl strips naked and allows her friend to explore. She’s charmed by all the different colors: the desert red of jasper, the ribbed greens of malachite, and the throaty orange of amber. With her tongue, she applies a thin coat of nacre to the inside of her friend’s wrist, where it gleams, opalescent as a pearl. Overnight, this liquid nacre dries, like a pale, lustrous scab, which peels off on its own, leaving behind a patch of raw pink skin the shape of a button. It looks so sweet and new; the girl tries to kiss it, but her friend yanks her hand away as if burned. The girl hangs her head and gets dressed in silence, finding (underneath the bed, by one of her shoes) the dried patch of nacre. She puts it on her tongue, hoping she can reincorporate it, but no matter how long she sucks it refuses to break down.

Leda in Glass

“I'm locking eyes with a drag queen in a dressing room; a white Grace Jones.”

La Mujer Alacran

A month after the attack on her body, she woke to find she could not peel her fingers apart; the skin of her hands was fused together. She could no longer steer a car. They were claws, bent and poised in defense.