Punches a hole in the cakey window. The hole is the size of a woman’s head. My mother’s head. Tells the window, good, now you are broken, too. Blames the window for being so gooked up with grime he couldn’t see my mother driving the hell out of our lives. If I’d seen it, Drunkdaddy says, I could have stopped it. He takes off his t-shirt and wraps it around his bloody knuckles. Suck it up, Drunkdaddy tells his nakedchest self. He looks around the living room, stained glass lamp and pom pom pillows. My mother’s piano with the photo gallery on the top. Head shot of her like a movie star. Drunkdaddy picks it right up like he’s gonna break that too, but doesn’t. Blood drop after blood drop falling on the rug. He puts the photo back and walks over to the liquor cabinet. Walks right by me and my sister who have been standing there the whole time, too scared to just walk over and tell Drunkdaddy we want to take him to the hospital. But another drunk is about to come on and so we stand there, like all those other times, fear caking up our hands, our legs, and all we can do is watch Drunkdaddy swig the brandy down his throat, his neck going ropey with veins as he sucks it all down, and him wiping his mouth clean with the back of his good hand, turning and looking at the wall behind us and saying, “You’re next.”
Francine Witte’s poetry and fiction have appeared in Smokelong Quarterly, Wigleaf, Mid-American Review, and Passages North. Her latest books are Dressed All Wrong for This (Blue Light Press,) The Way of the Wind (AdHoc fiction,) and The Theory of Flesh (Kelsay Books) She is flash fiction editor for Flash Boulevard and The South Florida Poetry Journal. She is an associate poetry editor for Pidgeonholes. Her chapbook, The Cake, The Smoke, The Moon (flash fiction) was published by ELJ Editions in September, 2021. She lives in NYC.
Cover Design by Karen Rile