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January 2018, vol 13 no 4

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Glenn G. Coats

Wild Onions

Though we are the same age, Wade is a head taller and twice as wide as I am. He can pick up anything, nothing is too heavy; he tosses me like a ball when we swim in the river.

The house sits where the forest begins. Wade teaches me how to find and pull sassafras saplings. We bring a bucket of them to his mom who boils them like tea. Laughs when I say it tastes like root beer.

His dad fixes cars. Takes us to junkyards where we pretend hubcaps are shields and antennas are swords. Once the battery Wade was carrying splashed acid on his shirt. It burned holes all over but never touched his skin. He never felt a thing.

Wade and his two sisters eat a whole loaf of bread for breakfast and another at lunch time. His mom smiles each time she flips another slice of French toast. Says I need fattening up.

At night, when I stay over, I sleep on the top bunk. Windows are always wide open. Wade’s sisters flash by the doorway, laughing and talking in the middle of the night, not wearing a stitch of clothing. No one says, “You girls get dressed now, we’ve got company in the house.” No one says anything. It doesn’t really matter—not all that much.

fireflies –
the blur of fingerprints
on a mason jar