THE MOON IS FULL, as the magnet pulls iron-filings from the beach where my boy threw it into the sand. “I’d like to pull Mama through the keyhole,” he says, “but Mama’s sick.”

“Mama is sick,” I say, “and you don’t have a big enough magnet.”

“Some days she’s just a bed,” he says. “And other days she’s running around like a fucking cartoon.”

“Shhhhh,” I say. “Watch your mouth.” The boy is only nine.

“Mama says it’s ok to curse if you have something worth cursing about.”

“There’s always something worth cursing about.”

“Look!” he says. “at them waves.” The moonlight dances on the crests, but a million flashlights can’t fill a black hole. “I’d like to lay on ‘em and ride to heaven,” he says.

He pulls the fine black sediment off the magnet with his fingers, then drops the magnet, cleans it then drops it again. “It’s like growing hair,” he says. “Hair that’s tough to take care."

"Tough to take care of..."

She’s taking her medicine, right?” he says.

“Yeah…so that she won't see heaven in some people, hell in others….we were lucky, we were only the earth last time.”

“I hate when the ambulance comes for her.” He tosses the magnet into the ocean.

“It’s ok….” Suddenly I forget his name. “Shit,” I say.

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About Timothy Gager


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Timothy Gager is the author of twelve books of short fiction and poetry. His latest Grand Slams (Big Table Publishing) is his second novel. He's hosted the successful Dire Literary Series in Cambridge, Massachusetts since 2001 and was the co-founder of Somerville News Writers Festival. He has had over 400 works...read more of fiction and poetry published and of which eleven have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. His work has been read on National Public Radio. Timothy is the Fiction Editor of The Wilderness House Literary Review, the founding co-editor of The Heat City Literary Review and has edited the book, Out of the Blue Writers Unite: A Book of Poetry and Prose from the Out of the Blue Art Gallery. A graduate of the University of Delaware, Timothy lives in Dedham, Massachusetts and is employed as a social worker.
1 comments
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  8 months ago
lovely, painful, great ending.

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