by Meg Pokrass
He worked in the meat department, said: “Welcome to Peaches Meats, how are you today?” He probably said this to every woman who happened by.
I went there after visiting my mother and did not answer. My mother said she had little to say, and proved her point each time, with nothing to say.
Walking in the place where my mother was treated did not help my mood. When I parked my car, I heard crying. It could have been a bird.
Meat Peaches looked like one of my very old friends, one who became enraged when I did not show up for his 50th birthday party and had stopped talking to me.
My boyfriend had just broken up with me and my mother was not well and I was in the middle of a separation and I was not feeling very social, but that excuse did not grant me clemency.
“How selfish,” my old friend had said. We used to be in love, and former lovers saw our faults.
I wished we had never been in love. I wished not to have friends like this, and I wanted the mother I missed who was still the mother, who had so many words.
Shiny in dreams, our visits are quiet. I prepare our teacups. We sip and it is the taste of summer, radicchio light brightens the dusty walls. August felt like my grandmother’s secret, a sin because it meant pleasure.
She’s been gone a long time and has not seen me old. I remember myself and my clumsiness, a never-ending splatter of childhood.
Nana, soft-trilling, you’ll trip running with that.
Today I notice a squint of lemon under the sun, Nana’s ruby-throated laugh inside me settling. My grandfather’s memory booming. Is there any soda in this godforsaken house? Nana cooling off in her loose housedress inside me.
And exactly that way she sneaks sips. I leave our tea bags in. Nana and I try not to gesture as we move away from my grandfather, hiding paper-still like brown bunnies, sneaking between backyard hedges. We shush each other while pointing ahead to where summer still lives.
MEG POKRASS is the author of six flash fiction collections, an award-winning collection of prose poetry, two novellas-in-flash and a forthcoming collection of microfiction, Spinning to Mars recipient of the Blue Light Book Award in 2020. Her work has appeared in Electric Literature, Washington Square Review, Wigleaf, Waxwing and McSweeney’s. She is the Series Founder and Co-Editor of Best Microfiction.