Farewell & Bodies

by Avital Gad-Cykman


I haven’t spoken to you two enough, if at all, and you’re already leaving. I have to let you go, glorious constructions of Queenstown.

You came to me quite late, when I almost lost hope. The boys played with me until other girls grew sweet new cupcakes under their shirts, and then, the boys ignored my adrenaline-ridden games and left me to wonder.

What was it about me that turned out so wrong?

See, my darlings, you and you, you were missing.

Lacking courtesy, the boys turned to girls with better genes.

Speaking about genes.

Speaking about genes…

You fed my babies. Their warm heads and round cheeks, their comfortable bodies knew you. And we were one big animal. Without an umbilical cord, you had us breathe together, our chests heaving at the same time, and you kept us in pleasure, unmeasured, until it was time.

A persistent line runs through the family. You have to understand, soft angels, I wouldn’t have cut you out if I didn’t have to.

I’m thinking about last dates for us, a dance, a sauna, and especially a date with another, oh, how I loved your heat, the way you adjusted yourselves into my man’s hands, how he cupped you, squeezed and kissed you, how he loved you, in different ways.

As did I, don’t forget.

I won’t.

Sculpted from within, under the old wrapping, I’ll remember.

I wish you stayed well. I wish you could stay.



When the virginal surface crashes, we save a stone. Our mountaintops, frozen lakes, bald spots among the snowy curls are constantly cracked to be measured. Collected pieces of broken skin tower over the land to form bodies that you confuse with tombs. They are alive. They rise as fast as the metallic experiments expand. They stand tall and silent, rugged and earthy, not far from the trespassing antennas. They rise against the shields the satellites raise in the magnetic fields that birthed us.

Our land is considered, tested, weighed, as if it’s been holding back a secret. Listen. Our nature is as simple as our bodies of stone. Be still and learn. Put your ear to the ground and hear the bears.

Imagine. Our bodies won’t break or drop but stay and watch, learn you, study your studies, explore your areas in absorption. They’ll reflect against your corrupted air and smoky cities and in the reflection you’ll see the meaning of a frozen civilization. Yours.

Avital Gad-Cykman’s work has been published in The Literary Review, Glimmer Train, McSweeney’s, Prism International, Other Voices, Michigan Quarterly Review, Stand Magazine and other magazines. It was also featured in anthologies such as Sex for America, Politically Inspired Fiction (Harper/Collins 01/2008) Stumbling and Raging, Politically Inspired Fiction Anthology (McAdam/Cage), You Have Time for This Anthology (Ooligan Press), The Flash (Disease Press), and more. She is a three-time Pushcart prize nominee. Her story collections “Light Reflection over Blues” and “Perfect for This World were finalists for Iowa Fiction award. She was born and raised in Israel, and now she resides with her family in Brazil.

My reaction to this piece, upon receiving it, was “Wow, wow, wow.” What’s your reaction to it?

    Seriously? Well, I guess I’ll say that as a writer this is the best reaction I can hope for. However, I’m also very sensitive to this piece and any reaction makes me also cringe.
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