Dalia, Ten

Dalia played with her fingers as her father twisted a spill of newspaper, held it to the coals and with it lit another cigarette.

“Gee I had a weird dream, Dad.”

“Oh yeah?” he said between puffs. He opened the stove door and threw the newspaper in, watching it ignite and flare. “Go to bed now, pumpkin.”

Dalia lingered a little while longer to smell the burning newspaper, to watch the glow and watch her father absorbing something from the glow and warmth, the soft crackling of the fire. Some kind—she thought—of small worship and returning to an interior space where she wasn’t, the woods, the owl and America weren’t. He was not a magnate but a mercenary, and had a storehouse of small and mysterious facts that insisted on being understood, though themselves offered no index or material basis, no throughline for such a task, and so there was no beginning or hope of end—only wandering.

Thanks for checking out this little part of my short story.

Did I tell you I wrote a novel? You can also donate some of your hard-earned dollars down below—that’s money to me, for free!

Gabriel Muoio


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