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April 4, 2021

Horse Crazy

Summer J. Hart

She tells me about a town up north that’s so cold, when you cry the tears freeze to your eyelashes. Small birds harden mid-flight. How she tucked them up her sleeves until they thawed.


An icicle is the perfect murder weapon, Nadine says, picking her gums with the sharpened end of her pinky nail.

I’m feeding reheated American Chop Suey to the dog under the table. 

She strikes her lighter three times before it sparks.

Outside, a crow skids across the frozen river. An eagle catches hold & paints a single stroke of red across the ice.


I picture her wintering in this north town, sliding off the roof of the garage into a snow bank. He hitches a sled to the back of a pickup truck & skids out.

Hyah! Hyah!

She hits the road so hard her boots fall off.


Nadine is obsessed with Heathers, completely in love with Christian Slater. We curl up on the couch under a throw with cans of Diet Pepsi & a bowl of fat-free butter-flavored microwave popcorn. Nadine savors one kernel at a time, holding it in her mouth until it’s soft before swallowing.

She says Christian would bang her because of her tits but not me because I’m Horse Crazy.


I shake the water bucket until a bucket-shaped hunk of ice slides out, fill it back up from the spigot, & empty the steaming wheelbarrow over the top of the manure pile. The late afternoon sky darkens over the ring to a bruised plum. I pull my scarf up over my nose & warm the metal bit under my arm.


It would melt inside & disappear, she says. Humans are mostly water anyway so how would the cops know if there’s a bit more in there? J.D. would have to stick it in an opening, though, like an ear or a mouth or—she snorts out smoke & stabs her cigarette at the seat of my chair.

Greetings & Salutations, Asshole.


The handprints on her neck fade from black to purple to yellow.

She decides to save the dog.

He’s passed out in the ice shack. She’s standing knee-deep in snow, in the center of the lake, watching the bobber.

She stays until a thin film knits across the void.


The horse canters circles in the snow.

I imagine her thawing out by the fire, a woman-shaped block of ice. An icicle for every lash, sharp as pinky nails, birds singing inside her coat.