“Tutu Su” and “Panic” by Sarah Largosa

Posted: June 2, 2014 in Vol. 5: Spring Essays 2014

Tutu Su

Wisps of Pele’s hair twirl into a limp bun

burn titanium gold

and scathe the sky,

refracting iridescent rings of light

piercing the miasma;

smoldering greensand eyes punctuated

by malleable creases of clay skin

wander to capture pastels of plumeria and clouds;

body draped in a muumuu of billowing leaves

and creamy hibiscus; feet bent,

crooked bumpy

like basalt, from the confines

of high heeled shoes,

now set in futon slippers march forward,

and here, she arrives at our door.


Her German accent gurgling like a flowing stream

soothes our scraps and blisters

as does her clucking chortle.

Together we

chart oceans and constellations

and record newly discovered creatures

and balance a mile of ice cream

on a customer’s cone,

on the cracked, sandpaper concrete

with the dust of chalk.

We explore the jungle surrounding our house,

picking bougainvillea and dandelions,

following anoles up the greenhouse walls,

and watch as she does not flinch

and smirks when touching the skin

in between the needles

of a cactus, “See? It will not hurt you.”

We chase each other

where the punishment for capture

is the dreaded goosepimples,

an undulation of fingers that barely

brush the hairs of the arm,

causing tickling tingles

and noisy squirming smiles.


At sunset she follows the sun

off down the sidewalk to the bus stop,

and I keep my head squeezed through a gap

in the rusty chain-link gate

watching her until she diffuses

into the atmosphere. 






Crushing the leather arms in rigid hands,

feet welded to the stirrup of the chair,

throat laced with frozen stinging breath.

“Look straight up.

Riiight at the corner of this light fixture.”


“…okay…” Face tilts

to the alabaster ceiling almost

as pale as it,

almost as pale as his coat,

lips seal into a button

forcing the frozen breath to tumble

down into the stomach and churn its contents

into an acid slush.


keep your eyes open.”

Drip. Drip. The sizzling liquid offends the sight.

The stomach contracts shooting

up a whimpering cry

into the esophagus to be held there.

“Look straight ahead past my shoulder.

Keep your eyes open.”

The body turns into fevered glass,

the slush begins to boil,

the device to measure the tension of ocular ooze

molests the surface of an eye and then

both Saharan and Arctic at once,

I shatter.



Written for Dr. David N. Odhiambo’s ENG 313: Creative Writing 


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