by April Bradley
Our mother’s memories glide and scrape into one another and make new stories, remake us all. We are lambskin parchment she inscribes and illuminates over and over, palimpsests, not children. Our mother places her cigarette in the ashtray preparing once again to burnish us with ash. She whispers, “That’s not what happened.”
Bigfoot walks through the snow on my street. He looks like Chewbacca’s cousin but taller, leaner. He lives in the woods and comes out with the stars when the sky is purple. He wants us children and all our wishes too.
Henry and I are at the drug store looking for body wash because he won’t use soap. We test smell nearly every bottle we can reach.
“Try this one, smell this one,” we say to one another. We trade bottles, flipping lids, scrunching noses.
“I want to eat this one,” he says, holding a bottle under my nose. “Because it smells like Juicy Fruit. Smell it!”
It tickles us, and we laugh ourselves silly. We end up in a pile on the floor in the aisle by the perfume counter, gasping-crying-slurping up spit. I’m tangled up with this boy of mine, his long legs, his twelve-year-old boy sweat, long hair like a girl, skin so smooth and luminous I’d almost die for it. Lord knows I’d die for him. I ignore the other Mothers who walk past us and stare.
My boy hauls himself up, hitches up his shorts, and notices the brand that cuts.
April Bradley is from Goodlettsville, Tennessee and lives with her family on the Connecticut shoreline near New Haven. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Smokelong Quarterly’s “Why Flash Fiction” Series, Boston Literary Magazine, Flash Frontier, Hermeneutic Chaos Literary Magazine, The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, Narratively, and Thrice Fiction, among others. She is the Associate Editor for Bartleby Snopes Literary Magazine and Press where she established the Women Who Flash Their Lit Series & Forum. Find her at aprilbradley.net