on certainty by Shannon Ratliff

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leafless tree in expansive sky; black and white image

After the river rose, a kid ran screaming into town. Dead woman in a tree, strung up by stuff. A mile from the river, we saw the mangled body between the high oak branches, alive. The stuff a fabric rope of socks, underwear, flannel wrapped around her waist and legs. Her naked husband had strung her up there with the clothes off his back on the highest branch that’d hold the weight of her two bare feet when the river broke the back door open. His branch snapped at dawn. The high school girls whisper of it now. How do you know, they ask, the difference between a man who will tie you to the tree to kill you, and one who will tie you to the tree to save you?

Meet the Contributor

Shannon RatliffShannon Ratliff is a writer in Texas. Her work appears in or is forthcoming from Joyland, Seneca Review, Gulf Coast, Slice Magazine, Hotel Amerika, and Pleiades. Her chapbook, Arch, is available through Dancing Girl Press & Studio. Contact her at https://smrcreates.com.

Image Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/Paul Cooper

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