"Armadillo" by Heather Bell
The legless armadillo sits in the corner of the room while I do the laundry. There isn't much else it can do but sit and weep. I make it a sandwich after the folding and I make jokes about wristwatches and love and things a legless armadillo can never have. But I am jealous, secretly. The afternoon is cocktails and I sit and his face is slack so I read Tolstoy aloud, though I do not say that I do it for his benefit, though that is what I am doing, obviously. I knit him tiny hats and he is dying of something. I put felt birds on the brim with craft glue. I sing, quietly, Top 40 songs so he thinks that I just like popular music but really, I know he is dying and the dying need Britney Spears. I change his bandages and clean his wounds and feed him soup but the bleeding never seems to stop. I do not panic, but I am jealous. I buy a loom and organic wool and make shoes he will never wear. I do not panic. There is the sound of weeping coming from somewhere by the washing machine and I tell myself it is a leak in the hose. I think of Hugh Hefner. The president. I think of Clint Eastwood and what he would do. There is a pool of blood always at the tip of the phantom foot. It is a beautiful day, let's go for a walk, trigger warning. Trigger warning. Pistol bunched at the hip, baggy sweatshirt, no one will know. I call my mother and we talk about the beautiful day. Beautiful. I sip the broth in a coffee mug. I use bobby pins to keep the little knitted hats on. I go for a walk and there is the sound of clawed feet coming behind me and there is always a trail of blood. I take the woolen shoes and I think of ways to make them into mittens maybe, or to unravel them into strands and make long gray necklaces. Something fuzzy and tight for the neck.