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Her brother returned late at night. He opened his arms, showering her bed with wrapped and tied things. His face in the TV light dissolving, reconstituting. I’ve seen this one, he said. And she told him don’t leave, I’ll change it! Her hands in a panic, feeling all over, knocking things off.


When they were young, their father sent mittens in red and green, forgetting it was summer there and that their hands had become large and grasping. And that now they ran shirtless like pagans under southern stars. They took his gifts and dressed up the tree like a sentry, a monster with four hands.


Her brother said careful, the snow globe! And as he moved his arms and legs broke off, broke apart, like kindling. The fine bones of his hands spidered across the floor. Gathered like that.

Award-winning flash fiction writer with stories in Ploughshares, Copper Nickel. Creator of Fast Flash© workshops and The Art of Flash Fiction newsletter.