Page 13

P O E T R Y & F IC T IO N

LUCKY Claire Foxx

“Doc-tor, doc-tor, call the doc-tor, Ella’s gonna have a brand new ba-by, wrap it up in tissue pap-er, drop it down the el-e-vator, BOOM.” It was like we summoned it. The three of us, two turning the ropes and one jumping, all chanting “Doctor, Doctor” instead of “Father Abraham” like we were taught. We used Ella’s name in the rhyme because no one could double-dutch to Ma-ry E-liz-a-beth, it had too many syllables. But it was her idea. Mary Elizabeth saw it first and said mercy in the fondest, most secret whisper, in a mother’s voice, as though she might suddenly cry from happiness, and stopped everything and knelt down in the grass. The jump ropes wrapped around her ankles like dead snakes. “Hey,” I said. The church ropes were stiff, old cordage with no plastic handles on the ends, and they skinned the palms of my hands when I lost my grip. It was so fast I couldn’t even tell what happened, just that it hurt, and that it was Mary Elizabeth’s fault for not explaining herself, and Pastor John’s wife’s fault for not buying the waxed nylon jump ropes that were supposed to be used for double-dutch, and after that I didn’t know. I never followed that sort of logic further than two or three degrees. “Wait, Grace—look it,” said Ella. She pointed to a fat, shorthaired little dog the color of bread dough that none of us had ever seen before, on the First Covenant Fellowship playground or anywhere else. It sort of did look like a baby, with dark, pupillary eyes and a pale dumpling body. It was incontinent. Its pee sprinkled on the dirt when Mary Elizabeth reached her hand towards it, so tenderly, and then it lay down in the pee on its stomach. “Aw,” I said. “Aw, don’t do that. It’s okay.” It looked like it wanted to be touched more than anything in the world and like it would die right away if anyone touched it. It looked like it was asleep and awake at the same time, dreaming and not dreaming. The eyes blinked oppositely at Mary Elizabeth and me. “He’s lost,” said Ella, who was right about everything but always sounded wrong because of how she spoke from her sinuses, without authority. “He is not,” said Mary Elizabeth. “He’s our dog. He’s with us, he found us.” Her voice made the pronouns sound righteous and definitive, as though we’d been waiting for years, since before anyone could even remember, for this exact miracle to happen. He’s with us, he found us. I said, “Yeah, finders keepers,” but it wasn’t the same. “We just have to make sure Mrs. Lyall doesn’t look over this way. Or anyone. Make sure nobody sees. He’s our secret dog.” Mary Elizabeth held her finger to her lips, hush-hush. Our secret dog wallowed in the coolness of our shadows on the ground, the long gray pinstripe of skinny Ella and the two-headed likeness of Mary Elizabeth and me, the shape of my torso growing out of her shoulder like a Siamese twin. “He’s perfect,” she said. After that we called him Lucky, although I made a case for Temperance because it

13

Profile for Ivy Leaves Journal of Literature & Art

Ivy Leaves Journal of Literature & Art — Vol 93  

The Ivy Leaves Journal of Literature & Art is an annual student publication at Anderson University in Anderson, SC. The journal has served a...

Ivy Leaves Journal of Literature & Art — Vol 93  

The Ivy Leaves Journal of Literature & Art is an annual student publication at Anderson University in Anderson, SC. The journal has served a...

Advertisement