Fast Fiction

The Lady Scientist — by Lauren Eggert-Crowe

It happened again. Down by a concrete river. Across the yellow lines of the night mountain road. Between two hay bales. On ice. In paper. In shreds. It happens this way. In this universe, we speak in declarative sentences. The lady scientist receives a phone call.

In this universe, we interrogate others with logic, and when that is done, we interrogate logic itself. It can take a long night of turning a fibula beneath a magnifying glass. Deliberate hands, deliberate eyes. A room well lit with patience.

Who will give a voice to the dead? The lady scientist stands beside a grave and knows exactly what is beneath her. It is a small reassurance. She drives in angry traffic with a superstitious shipmate. Their arguments are a sestina. The lady scientist dies for a moment and she is afraid of the locked door. Is there no champion for her stubbornness?

Who will explain the procedure if she is eliminated? Who guards knowledge? What happened before and after and after after? Once I had a belief that frightened me so much I dropped it, picked it up again, dropped it. Once I was a billowed sail in a trade wind.

The lady scientist is a creeping contrarian. She has a past like you have a past but that is not an answer to any question you want to ask. When she was a girl, she could become a telescope.

A body arrives, stripped of softness by beetles. The lady scientist knows the factness of hard things. Because fissures and cracks. Because radial patterns. Has fabulous jewelry. She knows how to break, to set. Has rhinoceros grace, a honking mellifluousness. So many people here in their dresses.

When the bodies arrive there is ceremony in the lack of it. The same things will happen soon. We will conclude this line of inquiry with wide angles. We will pace through the longform arc in our short form shoes. I think you are wrong. I know what happens when we die because I am always there to watch the same thing not happen.

Lauren Eggert-CroweLauren Eggert-Crowe is the author of three poetry chapbooks: In the Songbird Laboratory (dancing girl press), The Exhibit (Hyacinth Girl Press), and Rungs (Grey Book Press, collaboratively written with Margaret Bashaar). Her work has appeared in The Rumpus, Salon, L.A. Review of Books, The Millions, Berfrois, Springgun, Sixth Finch, Interrupture, DIAGRAM, and Puerto Del Sol, among others. She has an MFA from the University of Arizona. Follow her on Twitter  or Instagram.