Last Night, the Little Dipper Looked Like the Walgreens Pharmacy Cup

On the street, I pass a man eating a sandwich and the waft of onion walks with me a while. The rattle of metal tags on a collar and I always have to look, make sure the dog isn’t loose and fierce. Three weeks ago, my mother died and I thanked God. This week, a glance at her photograph reminds, feels like a slap to my heart. The cards, flowers, and phone calls have stopped. Already. I almost turn around on the street and return to the company of the smell of onion, offer my hand for it to take.


Ethel Rohan is the author of the story collections Goodnight Nobody (coming in September) and Cut Through the Bone, the latter longlisted for The Story Prize. She is also the author of the chapbook, Hard to Say. Her work has or will appear in The New York Times, World Literature Today, Tin House Online, Post Road Magazine, and Sou’wester, among many others. She earned her MFA in fiction from Mills College, California. Raised in Ireland, Ethel Rohan now lives in San Francisco, where she is a member of the Writers Grotto. Visit her at

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