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

Flower shop window

IMAGE CREDIT: Nathan Elliott. Fleurs. 2020.

🍋Our Tenth Anniversary

 

    Cheers to ten years of celebrating the short form.

 

🍋 Instagram

Leah Mueller's "escapee" is a resilient wisp of a poem. https://citronreview.com/2020/03/19/escapee/ Books include: Misguided Behavior, Tales of Poor Life Choices (Czykmate), Death and Heartbreak (WeaselPress), & Cocktails at Denny’s (AlienBuddhaPress.)
Contributor @jerzypoet has launched a new poetry journal, The Night Heron Barks. @heronbarks https://nightheronbarks.com/ We reviewed his poetry chapbook Demolition in the Tropics in our very first Zest - https://citronreview.com/2019/06/21/chapbook-review-by-eric-steineger/ #amreading #litmags
A chiller from contributor Cathy Ulrich's Murdered Ladies series - in the excellent new issue of @adroitjournal. https://theadroitjournal.org/issue-thirty-two/cathy-ulrich-prose/ We reviewed her Ghosts of You ( @okaydonkeymag) https://citronreview.com/2020/02/09/debut-fiction-review-by-jr-walsh/ #amreading #litmags
In "Polaroid" by @starlightgrrl, Charlotte Hamrick we see the big picture in a micro moment. Look closer in our Spring Issue! https://citronreview.com/2020/03/19/polaroid/ Charlotte Hamrick’s poetry, prose, and photography has been published in Foliate Oak, Moria Online, Connotation Press, Gone Lawn, The Rumpus and elsewhere. She is Creative Nonfiction Editor for Barren Magazine and lives in New Orleans with her husband and a menagerie of rescued pets. #amreading #microcreativenonfiction
Thanks for tagging us @kaywestah! #TheCitronReview #spring2020issue #briefliterature #celebratingtheshortform #CitronStories #cnf #fiction #micro #poetry
A parental pair of Creative Nonfiction pieces that's music to our ears: "Opera Mom" and "Opera Dad" brings transcendent melody to our Spring Issue. https://citronreview.com/2020/03/19/opera-dad/ https://citronreview.com/2020/03/19/opera-mom/ Claire T. Lawrence is a Professor of Creative Writing at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania. She has a PhD in Fiction from the University of Houston - Creative Writing Program and an MFA in Fiction from the The University of Utah. She has published fiction, poetry, and memoir in numerous magazines including Crab Orchard Review, TriQuarterly Online, Event Magazine, Terra Nova, and Western Humanities Review. #amreading #creativenonfiction

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

%d bloggers like this: