Something That Can Never be Held

Bonnie Parker

Something That Can Never be Held
by Cathy Ulrich


You are being photographed with a stolen camera. You are pretending to smoke a cigar, you are wearing your best dress, you are holding a shotgun. You are going to be famous. You are going to be hunted. You are going to have time to scream before you die.

You are on the run. You are in love.

You are camping out in abandoned fields. You are riding in the back of stolen cars, you are sitting on blanket-covered guns, you are tugging your stockings that always sag.

You are wearing the same dress for three days in a row. You are putting on stolen drugstore mascara. You are writing postcards from the road to your mother. You are calling her on the phone, you are giving the code word red beans, you are embracing her before you go, I could never leave him, I’ll never leave him.

He is hurrying you back to the car. He is trading out the old plates for new ones. He is driving all night. He is saying look at all these stars.

You are holding your hand out the window, you are feeling the wind against your fingertips, you are counting the towns you pass, one, two, three, you are thinking this is something that can never, never be held.

Cathy Ulrich would like to be photographed in her best dress. Her work has been published in various journals, including Tiny Molecules, matchbook and Lunate Fiction.

Photograph of Bonnie Parker, found by police on 13 April 1933 in an abandoned hideout, courtesy of the US Library of Congress (cph.3c34474).