Skeleton 33

See the skeletons? Through the window, where the Bay beats white against the Golden Gate? This year 32 people jumped from the bridge. I watch one falling, falling, but it soars up again, a housefly inside the window.

Sunny days their ribs are white in the waves. Cloudy days the Bay turns to bones, gray and dull. On foggy days the skeletons move. Bones scratch, leaving dripping prints on the concrete steps.

Hear them? The shh sound of bones scraping?

Wind? It’s NOT the wind.

You’ll leave me. You’ll spread your blackbird arms and fly. I hear it in the rush of the brush through your hair, the breath of your sigh.

Another body falls and rises. 33.

Ann Hillesland’s work has been published or is forthcoming in many literary journals, including Fourth Genre, Sou’wester, Corium Magazine, and SmokeLong Quarterly. It has been selected for the Wigleaf Top 50 Very Short Fictions, won the grand prize for prose in a Spark contest, and has been presented onstage by Stories On Stage. She is a graduate of the MFA program at Queen’s University of Charlotte. See more of her work at

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