Shifting Earth

Hardly had the gust of wind passed and she was back. The butt end etching the boy’s eyes, his nose, caught –  momentarily – on his collar. He watched his mother’s lips: their smudge of lipstick, how they squish to the side then spit. He’d seen people kissing in the park behind the swings. He couldn’t ever imagine these doing that. Her hair static while her head swung back and forth. She uses the iron and a dish cloth to straighten it, the activity smells like sour toast. Another gust came, and she returned to heaving up ash ends. The boy wondered how long this would go on for: the screaming, the coughing. He was digging, digging to Australia. And his spoon was getting stuck on something when she appeared above him. He felt he was close. His secret broke a smile.

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