Even as little by Francine Witte


as five years old, you would stand in the doorway that wasn’t a doorway, just a spot in the park your father walked you to, told you let’s build a house right here that only the two of us know about and I can say something like Parkhouse in the middle of dinner, and you’ll know exactly what I mean, and in this house I won’t be out of another job and I won’t have to ask your mother to make half for dinner, count out the bites of a pork chop to make it last longer, and we can slurp down buckets of soda if that’s what we want, and the trees would listen to all of this, shaking their October heads, leaf after leaf falling, all crispy and brown, and dead, and that’s when another little girl, another father stop at the ice cream truck parked just across the way and the little girl won’t have to eat it slow and slow trying to memorize the taste of chocolate with every tiny bite, and your father would see the look in your face, the haunt that would stay there forever, and say c’mon let’s pick out some wood for our house, some magical tree that will know us even after we shave it into a wall, and he’d take you by your little girl hand and you’d take one last look at the little girl across the road, her father handing her an ice cream cone, drippy and lush, and her not having to measure or memorize anything, about to take a bite.

 

Francine Witte’s poetry and fiction have appeared in Smokelong Quarterly, Wigleaf, Mid-American Review, and Passages North. Her latest books are Dressed All Wrong for This (Blue Light Press,) The Way of the Wind (AdHoc fiction,) and The Theory of Flesh (Kelsay Books.) Her chapbook, The Cake, The Smoke, The Moon (flash fiction) will be published by ELJ September, 2021. She is flash fiction editor for Flash Boulevard and The South Florida Poetry Journal. She lives in NYC.




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