Mary Archer

Mary Archer is a University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa graduate with a BA in English. In spring 2015, her essay and narrative fiction piece appeared in Ka Hue Anahā: Journal of Academic & Research Writing, Kapi‘olani Community College’s student periodical. Last year her poetry suite “Drafts of Robert McHenry” appeared in Ms. Aligned: Women Writing About Men. She is a New York native and current Hawai‘i local.

From “Death of Blossom Girl”

Millions of miles away, a stranger goes on some strange wind blowing stranger still. How would a girl of one and twenty know how strange things would go?

One fine day, the air did catch some chilly breeze that pricked her skin. Oh, the chill that chilled her then. Some way, somehow, in the knowing place she knew, this wind did touch her true.

The odious were close. “Yet don’t fly,” the wind did say. “Stay.”

“But wind,” the girl said. “The breeze. Your breeze and all the trees say, ‘Leave.’”

“Girl, believe” was all the wind did say. What else could blossom girl do?

Her traveler cape hid her young breasts, but these some men did see. They bit where lovers suckled and babies drew. They bit for blood, these careless men, these bloodless men. Fresh, her bosom leaked red.

From the Contributor Commentary

Sometimes writing is an act of desperation. When one is bent, writing can be the pivotal point of self-possession. My fiction piece “Death of Blossom Girl” was such an act, and a pivotal point for me.

Growing up is an ugly thing. It is both a shocking and sensitizing process as one begins to understand the horror and the gift that is life. The gift offered the main character in my story is the barest gift, and the heaviest: choice. Becoming self-determining is growing up, but no one tells you how fraught with trouble and laden with grace the process is.

My protagonist suffers many deaths, and not all of them are bad. Her world is terrible and elemental, merciless, but ultimately not unkind. It is my hope the reader will understand the forces of nature and mind in reading “Death of Blossom Girl,” and how the misalignment of one with the other leads to self-deception and other misfortunes. I am thinking of arbitrary “guidance,” places of port, life inescapable, and the death of a lie. I am thinking about mistakes, containment, restoration, and the means of becoming wise.