My father is a whisper. A passing cloud. He is there but always receding. A swimmer across the far side of a lake. A bus pulling away. The ground getting smaller as the plane takes off. And so when we go to Mexico City to see him, we do not see him that much after all. And even when he is there he is always also somewhere else.
Long before the children would shed their gender conforming names and escape their provincial village, the two siblings endured a tortuous childhood of stifling convention. The children’s mother called her son Hansel, a ‘healthy eater’ and her daughter, Gretel, a ‘little piggy.’ Their father clapped Hansel on his meaty back and offered him a stein of the family pilsner, while their mother showed Gretel how to polish the silver and iron the wrinkles out of lederhosen.
Mother takes her Baby Girl to the park on the first warm day of the year. The bluebells have burst into bloom, turning familiar grass into a foreign seascape. Baby Girl wobbles with unpracticed feet on bulbous cerulean heads. She sways as if she floats atop the waves of a real ocean.
Mother loves to hold Baby Girl’s hand, keeping her steady, even if it means crouching till Mother’s young knees ache like an old woman’s. Baby Girl clenches her tiny fingers with determination: one step, then another, then another. Mother only wishes her daughter’s flesh did not stay so rigid and cold, despite the sun’s sweet caresses.
It’s August 31st, the day of the dead.Wilma’s lying in her coffin,hands flat under breastsand wrapped in rosary beads.Husband Amos hangs about near dark, deep curtains.With any luck, they’ll swallow him.Divorced daughter pales her face […]
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.
Eschewing breakfast, I hadJust a cup of coffee and a newspaper.I got in the car then and droveThe fifteen miles from my houseTo where my ex-wife keeps my children.When I got thereI rang the doorbell.No […]
Review by J.L. Corbett
Writer: Riham Adly
Publisher: Clarendon House Publications
Release date: November 2021
Jack’s toes stretched, pointed like a ballet dancer, aching to keep him tall enough. But the water kept creeping.
At his chin.
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.