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This is How You Mourn Your Father

1. Post the news and watch the all-day buzz and shudder of your phone.

2. Pull on a teeshirt fresh from the dryer, that sharp clean smell.

3. Search for a last-minute flight that doesn’t cost the earth.

4. Write down who he was in the world, the bald and simple facts.

5. The ring of your boot heels in the airport parking garage.

6. Buy a paper on the concourse. Relish the heft and flow of the words you chose.

7. Note the rainbow edge of clouds below the plane. Something he taught you, the refraction of light.

8. The inverted stillness of the house. His watch and glasses, the trailing vacuum of his socks.

9. Zip up your black dress. His Hawaiian shirts, his bow ties and cigars, his fragrant whisky breath. The recliner breaking when you climbed in with him one too many times.

10. Watch the casket slide away. Wait for the bait and switch, his face around the curtain, grinning.

11. Shake hands, lean into one-armed hugs, your glass damp in its napkin. Pick up a deviled egg. Put it down.

12. Watch the PowerPoint loop, boy and dog in black and white, cocksure graduate in gown, groom with bride and cake. Holding a baby you, his beard grasped tight in your seashell fist.

13. That last call when he’d fallen and you asked him to stop drinking and he got mad which pissed you off because how could you not worry and want to keep him safe, but now you know what he knew and can see that drinking was a fraying rope across a chasm, carving weals into his tender human palms.

Flash Fiction by Fiona J Mackintosh
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Published in Autumn 2017


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