Angela Woodward
from Caketrain Issue 05

Perhaps because of the lingering heat or other atmospheric pressure, the global supply of sleep began to shrink, and sleep itself fundamentally changed its quality. We all complained, and it was scientifically proven, that drowsiness was now more brittle, like rubber seals and gaskets when they wear out. It was friable, dry, like sharp cheddar, a taste craved by some but anyway lacking the former creaminess of deep, blanket-laden slumber. People slept for a few minutes at a time, and strung the episodes out with periods of semi-wakefulness. All night long, old black and white movies played, the heroines of earlier decades looking so stiff now in their belted skirts, their hair crimped into waves. Bankers looked up from their desks at the sound of mobsters’ cars; shiny little boys uttered insincere statements of adoration towards their on-screen fathers; the abandoned girlfriend shrieked as the madman advanced, when she would have done better to stay still and prepare to defend herself.
     The same fate awaited other pleasures—the hand reaching out to fondle cloth, to pile apples in a bag. Even the desperate scuttling of mothers behind the coal car, picking up clinkers to warm at least a corner of the baby’s room, withered into caricature, the lust to accumulate or salve frayed into a chalky replica of itself, a dry going through the motions.
     The husband she had long ceased to love was offered only the most unfleshly kiss when she left the house. At night she stayed up reading in the outer room until he went out who knows where. Formerly this had been only the last dry plug before some new flood, a torrent of carnality directed towards the new minister or the neighbor’s brother. The undercurrent had always been there. But as the heat went on, and the head-aches and complaints, even brushing her own hair meant nothing to her. Boys stopped flexing their muscles in the mirror. Quarters winking from the gutter could not attract takers.
     The suppressed tide dried to a trickle, rocks in the cavern barely wetted, the whole experience an awkward fretting. Always there had been hope, and now there was only a scratchy delicacy.

Caketrain is a literary journal and press based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Our interest is in bringing you, reader, the very best in contemporary creative writing, full stop. Our goals are for each issue of our journal to submerge you in a birthing tank for gelatinous language monsters, young masses of tentacular foci undulating as directed (in all, at once) by our eclectic stable of contributors; for each new book we publish to seduce and ensnare you, sometimes intangibly, always undeniably; and for you, reader, to be able to draw at least one passage from our banks that prods your mind with such precision and power that it feels as if it was written for your eyes alone. To wit and to whet, here is a snippet, a slight nip of our delicious lit mix:

Copyright 2003-2006 Caketrain Journal and Press. Rights to literature revert to their respective authors.
ISSN 1547-6839.

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