Posted tagged ‘short short story’


October 27, 2016



I call her earlier than normal, mid-day, to tell her we’ve not been hurt in the explosion.

I can tell when she answers that she’s been awake, though her voice still wears sleep like a nightgown,

but, before I can deliver my news, keep her from worrying–

“tell me,” she asks, “is our family all dead?”

I walk out to the porch, sit in a dilapidated rocking chair. It is the rocking chair where I nursed my first child, though, of course, it was indoors then, Brooklyn.

I want to say, Mom!  Mom, are you okay!? But her voice is too subdued, serious, for me to remonstrate.

“Do you mean your family?” I ask at last.

“Yes, you know–” She names a sister, brother.

“Yes,” I say, “yes, they are.”

She is quiet.  Then talks of how that was what she thought, how she realized that she hadn’t heard from them. “It’s been a long time, hasn’t it?”

I tell her that for some, it has been many years–”how, you know, they smoked.”

She admits, one of the first times ever, that her memory’s just not so good anymore.

Though I can be hard as nails against her bragging, I dispute that. I tell her how she couldn’t get to some of the funerals, how, because she took such incredible care of my dad back then, she just couldn’t travel.  No wonder the deaths might not seem very real, I say.

She thanks me for going through it all.

I don’t usually rock this chair, the cushion completely shot, but feeling now the edge of the board at my thigh, I rock, as I tell her about New York City, the homemade bomb, how she will hear of it on TV,

but how none of us was even there this weekend, how, thankfully, no one died–

“Oh yes,” she says. (She thinks she did see something.)  “Oh good,” she says. “Thanks
for letting me know.”

As we talk, I think of how her dearest sister died the day my first child was born, how my mother went from one hospital to another, how that was a funeral that I couldn’t make, what with the baby.

I think of how she’d complained, later, about the pink gown they’d dressed her sister in, her sister who would never have been seen in such a pink gown, she said, her sister who worked out in the world, her sister, who, whenever she dressed up, would wear a suit–

the gown as real to me in that instant as if I had been there, my aunt’s still, pale, face above its folds. I want to say, “You remember, right?  That pink gown?”

But I can’t do that to her, even if it would trigger something, her sister–


Draft short story of sorts for Real Toads Open Link.  Pic is of a sculpture made of foil, cardboard, by Jason Martin.  

Our Ursine Friend

August 30, 2016


Our Ursine Friend

Yes, she smelled.  When she moved, more than dust wafted, and though she seemed (from a distance) to lope with the grace of a scarf dangled from the neck of a woman who had never heard of Isadora Duncan, she was definitely a bear in close quarters, meaning Ming china had no chance, even stoneware a goner–

The good side:  our rotten lettuce had no grubs; no need for ant traps.

But here was the true boon–and forgive me if that word is overblown, overblow honestly the crux of this matter–in her onyx-eyed snuffle, in that padding dance of claw and matte, she brought out our fanciful–

We would all lie down on the lawn or squeeze together in the bed–she never minding the overhang–and the dark warm funk of her fur somehow gave rise to fairies in the brain.

it was as if her quills, dancing lightly along our sides–for her paws paced when she was sedentary–were pens for all they wrote in us;

and I would find myself telling tales of the imagination–storyboards made up of whole (if hirsute) cloth.  No more the veiled memories; forget the fathers, mothers, bosses barely disguised.

No, she allowed me to see in metaphor, even beyond metaphor,
and the humdrum of my heretofore gave birth to heroes on the run from rutabagas, villains fomenting fate, backdrops built from all manner of “olde” and new, and as I wove that bright-worded warp, she would grin with her sharp white teeth–

you too.


A bit of a draft story for Real Toads Open Platform, hosted by the wonderful Kerry O’Connor.  (Also for Gillena’s prompt on megafauna, though too long for that prompt!)  Pic is one of mine; all rights reserved. 


Carrying On

August 16, 2016

Carrying On

It was the only way she could think to thwart her fate.

She imagined herself as cheese.  She remembered one with true jalapenos–not just pepper jack–her lover at the time complaining of his bowels.

When she could not stand to chew the green-rinded seeds, she swallowed them like popped pills; and when she could no longer take the swallowing–even her stomach blistered–she rubbed the rinds against her skin, trying to push some lasting burn into her pores.

She was rather amazed they gave her access to the markets.  Though they visited every day, measuring her wrist’s girth with bony fingers crooked to meet a thumb, they let her move freely about the town.

She had tried, of course, to abscond.  She had hidden in a ditch; she had hidden in a closet; she had one time rolled herself into an industrial clothes dryer thinking to snare escape by night’s cover, thinking they would lose track, peel off after the trucks that carried away the dumpsters of clean linens.

But they were waiting when she unwound herself; they were waiting outside the burnish of silver door, the thick glass circle. They were waiting with pitchforks–the ones with bright plastic-coated tines used to move the clothes–and semi-automatics.  And as they led her over the dotted linoleum, she felt that grasp on her wrist, measuring.

She should, she thought, seed her skin with cyanide.  That would give them something to chew on. But access did not take her to the back aisles of chemists, only to the women who sold green–vegetables, melons, chiles–and too, the men who sold what she was soon to be, hanging from heavy hooks, forearms akimbo.


A short short (weird) story of sorts for Real Toads open platform, hosted by the wonderful Kerry O’Connor with a quote about imagination.  Pic such as it is is mine.  All rights reserved.