Written Tales

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Short Fiction

Orphan of Pride and Selfishness

Ma did not want to be in a hospice. She voiced this several times before she passed. I was not there when she died.

When she died, I was at home, on the couch, sleeping. My body
laid at an angle, under the bright light of the living room lamp.

Under the bright light of the living room lamp, my cell rang, jolting me from my slumber, the hospital’s name flashed across the screen.

The hospital’s name flashed across the screen, a woman’s voice, the doctor I had met earlier in the day, was on the phone.

She told me that ma had passed in her sleep. The nurses were cleaning her up.

The nurses were cleaning her up. Sound had left the living room. Air sucked out like a vacuum, I had stopped breathing, my eyes couldn’t blink.

Ma was gone. My father left my life nearly 20 years earlier, he was dead to me when he chose golfing over walking me down the aisle.

My parents are everywhere and nowhere, Ma in a casket, surrounded by dirt, my father, out in the world, but just as easily could be dead, I don’t know.

I don’t know.

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Shirley Jones-Luke is a poet and a writer. Ms. Luke lives in Boston, Massachusetts. Her work has been published in several journals and magazines. Shirley has an MFA from Emerson College. Her work merges poetry with memoir.