The stoop is concrete and painted apple red. There's a sprinkler that makes puddles in the grass, on the surface of the stairs. There's a carpet square on the bathroom floor, it has rounded edges, it has high threads, it is brown, maybe dark blue in better light. You're lying on your back, your fingers raking the thread. Your irises bend as you switch your gaze from window to wall, you watch the flecks of light burst and bleach.
You burst, or rather, your chin does. The puddles—they collected on the stoop—you were running inside for something. The puddles, they were already red, they cannot redden. It made sense that your foot should slip, your chin should split, your red indistinguishable from the stair's paint.
Being stunned starts with dizziness, the iris bends open and lets in too much light, it unfolds and closes in heart-rhythm. Your left hand clutched the wrought-iron railing, the spire a familiar twist on your palm. Your right hand clutched the point on your chin where your face comes together, now breaks apart.
Sun fades through the plastic, slatted blinds. Someone stands in the doorway. The light doesn't brighten the features, the face may as well be blank. You are crying, or waiting. Your father comes at you with a green hand towel and flattens the terry cloth under your chin.
J.J. Starr graduated from Stephens College in 2009 and currently travels the United States, writing, learning, and exploring. This is her first publication.