Microfiction: The Cartoonist


The supper: Mashed potatoes with bits of beef and gravy mixed in. Large tumblers of cold milk. Your father’s bald head bent over his food, filling his cheeks like a squirrel. Birthmark shaped like the state of Maine on his forehead. Nobody talks, except for “pass the. . .” Your mother, looking weary, bags, actual pieces of luggage, under her eyes resting on her cheekbones. Your baby brother, banging his spoon, his smile too big for his face. A crow flies down through the chimney and enters the dining room, ruffles its feathers on the buffet table. Evil, triangle shaped eyes. Your mother rises, grabs the broom, shoos it out. Furrow her brow. The bird flies back and forth, slamming against the walls, the windows. Feathers drifting down over the table like confetti. Your mother screaming, swinging the broom. Exclamation points all around her head. Your father’s words: sit down you lunatic, in a bubble above the steamed peas. Big brother in the shadows, slumped against the doorway, his baggy jeans and sleepy eyes. Smaller than everything and everyone else.

(originally published in the sadly now gone elimae and featured in my flash fiction chapbook Wild Life from Matter Press)

4 thoughts on “Microfiction: The Cartoonist

  1. The imagery here is amazing. Love the “bubbles.” “Exclamation points all around her head.” Pitch perfect pacing. And the contrast of that last sentence. Lovely. Wonderful read, as always, Kathy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Jayne! I had in my mind a little girl at the supper table, watching the drama unfold, and recording it on a paper napkin. Was trying to convey as much about the family in as tight a space as possible. I’m so glad you liked it.


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