Bio Note: I have been published in V-V before, the last time in 2018, I think.
As my family walked to church my younger sister jumped into the road and a Ford leapt into her side. When the driver emerged, my father unfurled his arms, leaping to the man’s lapels and tossing him to the ground. My father was softly pinched into a police car as my sister waved from the ambulance.
My fever hovered over long evenings in the hospital and the nurse said you’re going to be here forever – in clean linen sheets but gasping with my books beside me but silenced unlike the boy in the next bed over whose brain was erupting, who cried when they moved him. Released and returned to school I got on the wrong bus – the lip of the door sealing and the lurch forward – afraid the right bus would never come. Furious rounds I traveled to streets I didn’t know, clasped in my waiting.
We sat & sat at the table, scrambling for space as the kids expanded and fled, a parade of conversations jostling, tucking a wing of graying hair behind one ear as the chairs wobbled beneath us. We were commiserating with a touch of envy about how some lives end in the hall of fame but you have to know what you really want to live happily ever after. I was wearing a baseball cap to look athletic. I have a twisted neck from staring at old books. We head to the pond. If I yell in these woods, the sound is partially absorbed, but in a book sound escapes every time you open it. A crow in the garden flounces over a row of beets; then complaint, then flight. The kids come back: on their trip, Elizabeth was the one afraid she had undertipped, ordered the wrong coffee, clearly, my child while the rest stretched into their long lives, camping, swimming, shouldering their children.
©2022 Samn Stockwell
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