A Flesh Like Ours  

2

September 1, 2014 by The Citron Review

by Jennifer Popa

 

This is for my sisters who were slick with mud, poking the dead baby chick with a crooked branch. This is for the nineteen year old calico cat who crawled beneath a bush to die. For the men whose calluses have softened, whose hands have grown as useless and arthritic as Pappaw’s. His skin yielded into crinkled folds for warming our fingers, a supple tissue both familiar and strange.

At any given time these elderly bodies will be lost to us, existing only in the memory of a former life. But one day they will appear within our own features: a knee turned knobby, a faint pleat along the brow, the minute purple rivers mapping the backside of a thigh. Skin will melt and loosen as if preparing to be shed, disentangling itself from the meat of our arms and legs. And as we gather these loose folds in our palms, a memory will percolate into cognition.

A memory of the wobbling pocket of skin at Pappaw’s neck when he smacked my sister. His hand imprinted red-hot across her cheek, as the half-squished baby chick struggled at her toes.

This is for Pappaw’s heart medication, and the kissing sounds he made when looking for the missing cat he would never find. For the wife who had died eleven years prior, who told him she’d never loved him in the first place. Because some secrets fester, they feverishly squirm until released. And when they sting a flesh like ours, they bury barbed stingers that we can sense, but will never work loose.

This is for the half-deflated basketball that half-crushed the chick. To a creature so small, it must have looked like the flash of an incoming planet, a circular dark, or the charge of night.

And maybe it’s better this way, snuffed out before she knows any better. Before we ever realized it was never really about a dirty old bird. Before Mom picked us up. Before she scooped all the things she loved into the back seat of the Chrysler. I didn’t have time to grab my shoes, and for this I cried for ten blocks. Ropes of tears wiped the dirt from my cheeks.

This is for my sisters who scratched their elbows, who fed Mom’s fury with half-truths about Pappaw and distracted her with “What’s for dinner?” but who never cried, though they wanted to.

 

Jennifer Popa is a short-story writer, essayist, and occasional poet. She currently resides on the South Plains where she is a Ph.D. candidate of English and Creative Writing at Texas Tech University. She’s working on a collection of short stories and teaching literature to a bright group of undergrads. Some of Jennifer’s most recent writing can be found at KestreI, Pithead Chapel, Juked, decomP, and Colorado Review. She can be found at http://www.jenniferpopa.com.

 

2 thoughts on “A Flesh Like Ours  

  1. This is for you Jennifer…this is great!

  2. […] very pleased to learn that “A Flesh Like Ours,” a short-short which originally appeared at The Citron Review, has been selected for Wigleaf’s Top 50 (very) Short Fictions of 2015. The selecting editor was […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Mushrooms

🍋10th Anniversary

Fall 2019 IssueSeptember 23rd, 2019
Cheers to 10 great years!

🍋 Instagram

Congratulations to our nominees for Best Microfiction 2020 (@pelekinetic). Helen Chambers, Mary Morris, Paul Beckman and Jennifer Woodworth. https://citronreview.com/2020-best-microfiction/
Congratulations to our poetry editors, EIC @ambrommel and Managing Editor @ericsteineger, and the @aulamfa students and alumni featured in December Shout Outs for their recent publications. #amreading #newwork #TheCitronReview #community #AntiochMFA
The epic title of Mary Morris​' micro "I Try to Get Out of the Way So the Soul May Draw Near" hints at the depth of our stories hidden from view. This piece sings in our Fall issue. https://citronreview.com/2019/09/23/i-try-to-get-out-of-the-way/ #amreading #microfiction
Our EIC @ambrommel read in Flagstaff last Monday at the Narrow Chimney Reading Series @uptownpubhouse. She found citrons at her Airbnb! Send us your #CitronStories! Poetry and fiction close December through January, but CNF reads year-round. #amreading #amediting #citrusygoodness🍋🍋🍋 #TheCitronReview #onlinejournal #briefliterature #celebratingtheshortform #cheersto10years #eatmoreart
Time flies like the snow! There's only one week left until December and we're still reading for Winter (and Spring) issues. Send us your best! https://citronreview.com/submission/ #amsubmitting #amwriting
This spiky new piece of creative nonfiction from Eleanor Levine is sure to prick your interest. https://citronreview.com/2019/09/23/hebrew-girl/ Eleanor Levine's writing has appeared in more than 70 publications, including Fiction, Evergreen Review, The Toronto Quarterly, Faultline, Maryland Literary Review, South Dakota Review, and others. A poetry collection, Waitress at the Red Moon Pizzeria, (Unsolicited Press) was published in 2016. Her short story collection, Kissing a Tree Surgeon, has been accepted for publication by Guernica Editions. #amreading #flashcnf

Enter your email address to follow us and receive notifications of new issues by email.

%d bloggers like this: