Tag: Family

Last Flight of the Passerine Brigade by Rick Hollon

I had just sunk at long last into my easy chair, pipe in hand, glass of palm toddy at my side, when my door fell victim to rapid-fire tap-tap-tapping.

I fluffed and sputtered but it did no good. The tapping came again, insistent as a woodpecker. I made a severe face at my pipe. “That’ll be those squirrels again, I expect. Tut! Still fixed on the idea that their grandmother left nuts here twenty winters back.” I tamped out the pipe and set it beside the toddy as the raps rattled through the tree once more.

Colorful as White by Hannah Zhang

When I was little, I always loved watching my sister paint. She would create the most realistic snow capped mountains and the rustiest torn down barns. I would sit next to her and watch her create whole worlds with just a few flicks of her palm. She would give me a blank canvas, and tell me to draw anything I wanted. I hated seeing that blank canvas, it was just a square of nothing, so I would paint streaks of color everywhere. Turquoise, maroon, magenta. Off they went, covering every corner of that ugly blankness. 

The Funeral by Ecem Yucel

My mother was born into a family that believed in all kinds of superstitions. Growing up, whenever we were alone, I’d watch her pray to her Gods and perform small rituals to be protected from evil. She would never place two mirrors facing each other for instance, believing that the infinite reflections in each mirror would open a gateway for the devil. If she accidentally spilled some salt, she’d take a pinch of it and throw it over her left shoulder to undo the bad luck and repel the devil. She would change her way if she saw a black cat on the street and knock on wood every time she or someone else mentioned something unfortunate, such as accidents, illnesses, or bad fortune.

“It wasn’t just my family,” she told me once. “Everyone in my village believed in them. They lived their lives accordingly.”

Lone Bird by Beth Kanter

Her feet always showed her age more than the rest of her body. Dried blister atop dried blister, flaking skin; a bone spur adding dimension to her little toe. I cradle her foot in my hands and began to massage it starting with the toes and working my way down to the heel. Slowly and evenly I make circular motions with my thumbs, kneading the cold flesh of the woman who raised me. Everyone needs a little pampering. What you don’t get in life, you should get in death.

Hitting Trains by Yash Seyedbagheri

I laugh at railroad crossing PSAs when bad actors gasp at oncoming trains, are too immersed in headphones, or think climbing on boxcars is dope. I guffaw at YIELD TO ALL TRAINS signs.

And I roar at the footage itself, the footage some railfan with cat-eye glasses caught by sheer, dark chance. No 90s quality footage and actors who could have been kidnapped from a family sitcom. Just a car, my sister’s Toyota Corolla, actually striking a train. Not being struck by a train. Striking a train. Ramming a boxcar, as though her Corolla were a Panzer rolling down the streets of some occupied European power, and not being dragged and spun around.

Mollusks in the Air by Julie Flattery

My dad and I are sitting at this bistro table in the sky having a great conversation—a really lovely time. I’m not eating or drinking anything, but he’s eating a bowl of steamed mussels that appears to be bottomless. He’s making no headway whatsoever.

Eating seems like the wrong word because he’s actually chowing down on them like there’s no tomorrow, which there isn’t, for him at least, because he’s dead. He’s been dead for years, but he showed up in my dream to say hi and eat these mussels. He’s talking with his mouth full, which is ironic to me because he was always very strict about table manners. I guess all decorum subsides in the afterlife since he really does seem more laidback.