Three Stories by Meg Pokrass

Birthday

You said it was not the way cabbage tasted, but the way it felt to be told it was important to eat what was on the plate no matter how tough or spongy.

To say, “Wow, delicious!”

When dinner was over, the brothers shuffled away and you helped your mother laugh through cough-syrup breath. Your brothers wouldn’t try.

Made sense you were the man I’d finally come with; the one who said “I want you to beg me for me.”

I imagined wearing a pinafore.

Seemed a fitting thing when you put a candle on your life, blew it out.

 

Old Friend

As kids we distracted each other from our mother’s worries. Both our moms were divorced. We played roles to make light of sex. She was stronger, would carry me around, I loved it and hated it.

In a hotel hundreds of years later, nothing will help. Trying hard to sleep, she thrashes with the TV on, violent movies back to back.

I need to feel better. Okay? Talk to me under rows of pencil-tall trees.

Pain patches on her feet, low back … her neck.

When sleeping she’s a girl, studying the night from a tree branch, sleeping through the unwatchable.

 

Invisible Treats

Her breasts still felt like bird’s nests. And she hated her hair less, which could mean she was better. Crapola, she said when she felt like a stranger in her life. Shh! She told invisible puppy.

She was a girl inside, even now—because of that brain, a talented circus brain she fought to accept her whole life. Jagged love was not the best thing for her. Didn’t he know?

Didn’t a whole planet of dead, worried mothers warn of treats from strangers?

But today she had become a stranger in her own house. She was the invisible treat.

 

For more, see our interview with Meg Pokrass.

Meg Pokrass is the author of Damn Sure Right (Press 53), a collection of flash fiction. Her stories have appeared in more than a hundred online and print publications, including Mississippi Review, Wigleaf, the Pedestal, Everyday Genius, Keyhole, Annalemma, elimae, Gigantic, Gargoyle, Prime Number, Women Writers, Istanbul Review, and 3AM. Her stories have also been showcased for Dzanc Book’s Short Story Month and nominated for Dzanc’s Best of the Web, The Pushcart Prize Anthology, and Wigleaf’s Top 50 [Very] Short Fictions.

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