At Your Mother’s House by David Mohan
Editor Matty Byloos, Fiction, March 7th, 2014
... you drop a lit match into the dry sea of stalks ...
You say we’ll meet at nine sharp.
At your mother’s house. You’ve been living there for too many years. When people in our town talk about you, they talk about your mother.
But now, you claim, at your mother’s house things have changed. You’ve taken down her moth-eaten drapes. You’ve given her hats to charity. You’ve had the carpets changed. The place smells ghostless.
At your mother’s house I used to see you swing on the porch seat, drinking lemonade. Every evening after six. You’d always be reading a book. I’d walk by and you’d never look up. At the time I resented your absorption and blamed the influence of your mother.
But now, you say, when I visit your mother’s house I’ll be looked at by every portrait. All eyes will fall on your latest suitor. Aunts and grandmothers, generations gone. All the mirrors will salute me with my big own smile. There’ll be a delicate table spread in my honor, cream poured into a porcelain jug. In your mother’s house, you say, no extravagance will be refused.
The sugar bowl, so long empty is now filled to the brim. The kitchen breathes in the lush sighs of the garden through a screen door.
In your mother’s house we’ll walk from room to room, baptizing each threshold we pass like novice exorcists.
You will lead me down the hallway, through the kitchen, onto the porch.
We’ll float across the summer-scorched lawn like cloud shadow, wade through a yard of weeds. Tall swamp grass, out past where the bald cypresses grow.
I’ll pass a Cheyenne—watch as you drop a lit match into the dry sea of stalks.
Watch a rapture grow.
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David Mohan has work forthcoming in or has been published in Necessary Fiction, Word Riot, Opium, SmokeLong Quarterly, FRiGG, Contrary, elimae, NANO and The Chattahoochee Review. He has been nominated for The Pushcart Prize.