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A Family

By Daniela Hernandez

  1. Childhood Haze
    Childhood Haze
    By Brittany Ahn
I.  The Daughter

            The daughter can be found within a fishpond, praying for a hearth that doesn’t reek of chlorine. But only ruby poppies fall out of her mouth, wet and bronze-tipped like arrowheads. Her hands are delicate, cold as ice, and her fingernails are raw—they have clawed what she cannot see. Surface-wise, however, she hears her mother’s groans, like a siren ready for slaughter. Her father’s pixelated words cannot reach her for the daughter has a mouth glued with a child’s melted taffy and her scalp is embedded with shards of glass (they are so clear she is the only one that is able to see them).

II. The Mother

               Everybody over the age of forty, she preaches, has too many roots tangling their guts. She goes to church religiously, and every Sunday she comes back with fishhooks inside of her—it is an old kind of hunger of something that isn’t blood-stained and molting. But, inside of her the night grows so wide it becomes a cavern (somewhere underneath it, the mother can be found). She is so desperate not to be made of gossamer anymore that she pumps her porous lungs so full of hot, melted wax that it drips out of her eyes—a cruel facsimile of tears—and scorches them.

III. The Father

             The father is a cavity with a crowbar for a heart, and he is in a quandary where a marrow-born dance tells the story of remembrance, a lullaby of survival. He makes himself a hallow bone hostel in a mouth outlined in cherry-red darkness, echoing overstrained strings in a champagne-colored era where the nights bled fireworks. The undone spool of thread in the corner of his room becomes a noose; the smoke of his cigar blurs the lines between right and wrong; the half-forged knife sits idly underneath his bed, waiting for the father to ask it how sharp it is. The answer is found in the slick tar and smoldering candlelight.