Image of holiday lights and a blue jay ornament.“The blue jays need sunflower seeds,” he gurgles, his rigid, wing-like arm shaking.

“Rest, Dad,” I say. The blue jays hopped around his steel feeder, twelve years ago, before his final move.

“Martha,” he wheedles, “chocolate milkshake.” Martha is a shared grief, called for in
dark hours; in a flutter of a curtain I sometimes hear her response.

I place two ice chips into his mouth—his milkshake.

Christmas lights flash on his potted evergreen. I long for a journey to Bethlehem, for waters of repentance. His eyes find me, but he likely sees a nuthatch or a circling hawk.


Andrew Stancek has been published widely, in SmokeLong Quarterly, FRIGG, Hobart, Green Mountains Review, New World Writing, New Flash Fiction Review. He has won contests.

Art Credit: Stephen Butler

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