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 [...]

Dalia, Nine

“Why does it look startled like that?” “Animals open their eyes wide like that when they need to be alert, when they need to be extra sure of all their surroundings. The owl does it too. It's not startled but it is careful, it wants to make sure it sees everything, and it does. The [...]

Dalia, Eight

Outside in the dark her father was standing, beer in hand, looking into the trees. His work pants were dusted white, his work boots thick with snow and dirt. Dalia wanted to rush forward, hug him anywhere she could get purchase and jump up into his arms but instead she watched him breathing blue mist [...]

Dalia, Seven

Dalia dreamt that she was the queen of a high tower, like the Burj Khalifa except taller, that looked out over a desert. She had been a pariah but was clever enough to insinuate herself into the desert society that had cast her out by artifice and oration—by signs and wonders performed at her hand. [...]

Dalia, Six

“When is Dad getting home?” “Probably not till later sweetie,” said Momma, wiping peach nectar from Dalia's chin with the fat palm of her hand. “How many times do you have to ask that?” said Fritzi, “Seriously!” “Please finish up with the television and head upstairs now, you have a mountain of homework to do, [...]

Dalia, Five

“Down Uncle!” Chuck shouted, his affectedly masculine voice breaking, “piss off!” Holding his rifle high above his head with one hand he kicked at the dog and it yelped, taking off into the snowy trees. “Hey!” yelled Momma from the closed kitchen window, loud enough that he turned, “don't do that! What say I kick [...]

Dalia, Four

Dalia held her hand up as though for silence. She imagined that instead of a basement she was in the general assembly hall of the UN, calling all nations to silence before she gave the final word on an issue of earth-shattering importance. The dry pop-pop-pop of Chuck's guns outside, in the backyard punctuated the [...]