wears a tattoo on her breast plate, needle guiding tar-black lines out of her skin to stitch a heart over an empty space. The thread is tangled around her finger like a forget-me-knot. When she pulls away, it tugs the loop tighter and blood rushes to the tip. She can feel it wind and pull at her chest where rows of bones stand sentient. A tight force splinters in her body and the sweep of thread tickles the porous ends of marrow like a phantom limb.
Charlene Ashley Taylor has a BA in English and is currently a Graduate Teaching Assistant at the University of Louisville. She is a former editor for The White Squirrel and Mentor for the Sarabande Writing Labs. Her work has appeared in Limestone Journal, Coe Review, and Transcendent Zero Press, as well as the upcoming issues of The Bitter Oleander and Spry Literary Journal. Her first collection of poetry and fiction, titled Escapism, is currently available on Amazon and at Carmichael’s Book Stores. She is the founder of Louisville’s newest reading series River City Revue.