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Story by Kathryn Kulpa (Read author interview) June 22, 2015

Art by Leslie June

1. Recipe Card

I sob into the meatloaf. No one must know. I knead my tears into the breadcrumbs. They fall against shiny egg white. In the end everything combines. Everyone smiles as they eat my tears. Extra good meatloaf, Mom! they say.

I make a note, for future reference: use more salt.

2. Baseball Game

That night in a dream I saw Jerry at a baseball game. I sat at the top, in the bleachers. He wore sunglasses and a hat I’d never seen him wear but I knew it was him. He came and sat next to me. We got peanuts even though in real life I never eat peanuts anymore, do I? Because of Kimmie’s nut allergy? I wanted to ask if he was still dead, but it seemed like a rude question, so I just asked if he had to go back soon.

He said no, he had the whole day off. We kissed. I tasted peanut salt on his lips.

3. New Castle

When I married Ross I gave everything old away. I only kept three dresses, daytime and night and best. Our house was new, an open plan. Lots of sunlight, no room for ghosts.

Don’t tell me about other men you’ve known, he said. I don’t want to feel them between us.

Picture windows. A skylight. A Florida room, they call it. In the living room, French doors. I could step through them and walk to the ocean. The breeze lifts the thin net curtain, air that smells like oyster brine. No room for shadows. Even the piano is white.

Every so often it plays by itself. I pretend not to notice.

About the Author

Kathryn Kulpa was a winner of the Vella Chapbook Award for her flash collection Girls on Film (Paper Nautilus). She is a flash fiction editor at Cleaver magazine and has work published or forthcoming in Monkeybicycle, Longleaf Review, and Pidgeonholes.

About the Artist

Leslie June is a digital media professional and underwater photographer. She currently builds websites and takes photos in Asheville, NC.

This story appeared in Issue Forty-Eight of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly Issue Forty-Eight

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