Dear Mother, our guide brought us this postcard showing the “types of wives which have contributed to the construction of the hill” after Edith and I woke with headaches. Is it a joke? All three women look stocky and miserable, no mistaking that! Black and white does not flatter anyone’s complexion. Edith figures she is the short one with closely set, glowering eyes. Are those baskets on their backs, or three separate fortresses they have constructed? Our perspective surely lacks depth. Right now our guide is smoking and reading Le Monde in the hotel lobby. Yesterday the clasp on Edith’s new gold necklace broke and instead of sulking, she pretended it was an offering to the blood-soaked fields. Tomorrow, our guide promises an expanse of meadowsweet. Edith feels sure those dear little flowers will not make her sneeze.
Kathleen McGookey has published four books of prose poems and three chapbooks, most recently Instructions for My Imposter (Press 53) and Nineteen Letters (BatCat Press). She has also published We’ll See, a book of translations of French poet Georges Godeau’s prose poems. Her work has appeared in journals including Copper Nickel, Crazyhorse, December, Field, Glassworks, Miramar, Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, Quiddity, and The Southern Review. She has received grants from the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Sustainable Arts Foundation.
Dear Mother, Yes, the glossy green and black tiled floor is sophisticated. Yes, the counters are bursting with baskets of roses and lilies and mums, all tied with coordinating silk ribbons. The air is so heavy with fragrance it could make a girl dizzy. But now there’s no pleasing Edith. At breakfast, she was dissatisfied with her soft-boiled egg and lukewarm tea. Even though she was not supposed to, she left lipstick stains on her cloth napkin and crumpled it by her plate. She says this flower shop, though small and brightly lit, with its cascade of daisies by the cash register, trumps all the gardens we toured yesterday. Because everything here is for sale.
We Have Grown Tired Of:
FLASH GLASS: A MONTHLY PUBLICATION OF FLASH FICTION, PROSE POETRY, & MICRO ESSAYS