JL Bogenschneider

The Day You Died I Ordered a Hundred Kilos of Clay

It arrived a week later and I set to work, sculpting the statue you said you wanted after your death. It was a joke, I think, but I also thought you’d like it. I started at the bottom: shaped feet and ankles and shins; moulded thighs and buttocks, only leaving your David-space blank: eunuching you because I didn’t know what that looked like. Shaped your belly though, and not the distended one you were last seen sporting, but the sweet chub that preceded the sickness. I built up your chest, narrowed a neck and added your head. Things got tricky after that because your arms wouldn’t stay on, so I ditched them: Venused your torso.

After that, some detail was required. I went back to the beginning: moulded toes and metacarpals; etched hairs into your legs and dimples into your buttocks. I poked a hole in your belly, then thought I didn’t even know if yours had gone in or out. And your chest: Was it hairless or hirsute? Your face, of course, was familiar, but I couldn’t ever get it right. Every attempt at lips looked like a scar. Every try at eyes was a blinding. I grappled with elusive ears and failed to stop your chin from falling. Even your nose thumbed itself at me, and as I stood there, smeared in clay, I wondered how I knew you at all.

JL Bogenschneider has work published in a number of print and online journals, including Lunate, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, 404 Ink, Necessary Fiction, PANK and Ambit.

A Song for JL

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