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Mother Tongue

Story by Kik Lodge (Read author interview) December 18, 2023

Art by Mario Azzi

On the train, a girl licks the window and her mother tells her to stop licking the window, but the girl carries on, and there’s me thinking let her lick the window, the cold must feel nice on her tongue, she’s licking the trees through the glass, the buildings, the schools, the cyclists, let her lick, she’s licking the traffic lights, the potholed people, the cows, and her mother yanks her by the hood and the girl’s zip digs into her throat as she falls back, squashed against the buggy with a baby in it, stay put the mother says, and I say but she wasn’t doing any harm, let her lick the fucking window, and the mother says something mean and another passenger says something which is probably to back her up because they’re both looking at me and then another passenger starts shaking his head and there’s the storm in my ears again, a thousand thunders, and I’m back in the damp shed and the door is locked from the outside and you have to seriously think, I mean seriously think, about what you have done if you want to come back in the house, and through the slits sits the moon and the moon is all mine and when I reach with my tongue I can taste it.


“Mother Tongue,” third-place winner in The SmokeLong Grand Micro Competition, appeared originally in The Citron Review.

About the Author

Kik Lodge is a short fiction writer from Devon, England, but she lives in Lyon, France with a menagerie of kids, cats and rats. When she is not writing, she is not cooking or running either. Her work has featured in The Moth, Gone Lawn, Tiny Molecules, trampset, Maudlin House, Milk Candy Review, Splonk, Bending Genres, Ink, Sweat and Tears and other very fine journals. Her flash collection Scream If You Want To is out with Alien Buddha Press. Erratic tweets @KikLodge

About the Artist

Mario Azzi is a designer and photographer based in New York.

This story appeared in Issue Eighty-Two of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly Issue Eighty-Two

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