We drive to the woods and let out my big brother. It’s his time, my father says. My brother dashes out the car and circles. His teeth are long and silver, but he doesn’t want to go. He doesn’t want to go into the woods. He smells like feral cat. He has those whiskers in his ears, that peach fuzz, that’s when it all starts. Don’t let me go, my brother says. He says it but it comes out wrong, like he should go, he should go into those woods. He should run like a feral cat and chase the jackals and run up in the trees, into the stars, into all the fairytales my mom’s told. About what happens, when boys grow to be a certain age, and run into the woods. When their dads drive them over there like feral dogs. My dad tosses him a lunchbox. There’s a ham sandwich, provisions. A hunting knife and Poland Spring. That’s his favorite brand. He can tell them apart, he says, he said so in his high chair. Poland Spring. Fiji bad! My mother took a picture. She posted it to Facebook. She told us stories, about the woods. How we wouldn’t get eaten. We wouldn’t, we would curl up in the stars. And there would be another mother there, taking pictures. There would be a Facebook in the sky. We would be warm, and happy.
Leonora Desar’s writing has appeared in River Styx, Passages North, Mid-American Review, Black Warrior Review Online, Wigleaf and Wigleaf’s Top 50, and elsewhere. Her matchbook piece “My Father’s Girlfriend” is forthcoming in The Best Small Fictions 2019. Three of her pieces were chosen for Best Microfiction 2019. She is fiction editor for Pidgeonholes and lives in Brooklyn.