Fiction · 12/16/2020

Easter Sunday Man

The window open to catch the last of the lilac day, we consider the remains of the feast, me and Lisette and Geraldine. The burned clove syrup pooled beneath enough ham for two weeks of sandwiches, one tired deviled egg I’m going to gulp any minute, a few asparagus spears gone chartreuse. No potatoes left, even though Janie never made it over, something about Donnie breaking his hand, the ER, stitches. We’ve been walking around her absence like it’s a spilled drink, something sour and sweet. Our husbands: one in the kitchen browning the meringue, one at his house with the kids, one in the ground. One drink to sort them out, and that was before we ate. Janie texts a selfie from the waiting room. Her face is fine. We know not to sigh with relief. From the next street over, a thin ugly sound totters into the room — gold-digging fucking cunt, he rages, some man on Easter Sunday. He wants in, he wants a hole to hide himself, he wants an appliance that labors but never takes the shape of a whole woman. I shut the window against what’s been untombed once more, what rises to howl the wide dark open.

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Carolyn Oliver’s very short prose and prose poetry has appeared in SmokeLong Quarterly, Indiana Review, Jellyfish Review, jmww, Unbroken, Tin House Online, CHEAP POP, Midway Journal, and New Flash Fiction Review, among other journals. Carolyn lives in Massachusetts with her family. Links to more of her writing can be found at carolynoliver.net.