Oct/Nov 2008  •   Fiction


by Meg Pokrass

Ma says stand back while she strikes the match, lighting the Wedgewood stove. There is an end-of-the-world whoosh as gas and flame mate—omelets out of scraps are keen, she says sucking a Menthol—arranging button mushrooms as eyes, red onion slices into tight little smiles. At dinner, my sister's hair hangs like a thick curtain around her face. Sometimes I'll poke through it, whispering, how much for your last three bites? A dollar, she'll say. Ma can even make a piece of cooked cow look lovely, we both agree, trying to raise two children on her own. My sister excuses herself for the bathroom after dinner. Mom and I look at each other as the sink hisses, then the angry toilet joins the music. We pass the time by inventing situations, playing two truths and a lie.