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Story by Grace Q. Song (Read author interview) April 15, 2021

Photograph by Fabio Jock

All day I’ve been angry in upstate New York. Somewhere in the Catskills, my father and I sit in a small white fishing boat, encircled by red cedars and feasted on by mosquitoes. By the edge of the lake, a family of swans search for waterweed and muskgrass. The pair come every summer to breed, and my family came every summer until whatever line that wound my parents together unraveled, and my father left without taking a single thing. Now, a year later, the man in front of me, who once fished gold-foil chocolates and miracles from my ears and placed them as a promise in my hands, has a girlfriend and a shiny new job in the city. He doesn’t mention my arms, crossed like a gate, the way I only answer his questions and never ask him any. He just says look, pulls the line above the shoulder of purple mountains, across a cloudless palm of blue, the hook glinting like a silver eye. When it falls and murmurs against the water, the lake gasps open.

About the Author

Grace Q. Song is a Chinese-American writer residing in New York. Her poetry and fiction have been published or are forthcoming in Monkeybicycle, Storm Cellar, Passages North, PANK, The Journal, and elsewhere. Her work has been included in 2021 Best Microfiction and 2020 Best of the Net. A high school senior, she enjoys listening to ABBA and Joe Hisaishi.

About the Artist

Fabio Jock is a photographer based in Karlsruhe, Germany.

This story appeared in Issue Seventy-One of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly Issue Seventy-One

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