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Sonata in Noir Minor

He said:I am alive again all the way
and it is terrible as bravery

She said:None of you can hurt me now

He said:I wanted to see her again, close
without that silly staircase between us

She said:He can’t hurt me now

He said:Sometime after midnight, there will be a man
leaning against a streetlamp, wearing a dark coat.
Go to him, ask to see Saul

She said:And the night will be heavy with perfume

He said:He can’t hurt you now

She said:And the night will be heavy with the blood of the lost

He said:I have known that murder
can sometimes smell like honeysuckle

She said:Sometime after first light, there will be a woman
bound to the bridge’s railing with heavy rope.
Go to her. Tighten every knot.

He said:And the night will be heavy with your choked breath.

She said:I have seen Saul. I knocked the hat off his head.
Then I knocked off his head.
There is a box on the kitchen table. Don’t open it.
Wipe clean whatever has leaked from the seams.

He said:I am alive again.

She said:I am terrible brave.


Paula Mendoza’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in PANK, The Awl, and The Offending Adam. She has an MFA from the University of Michigan, and lives in Austin, Texas.