James Claffey

Dearly Departed

The porridge oats soaked overnight in the double broiler and sat on top of the cold Aga range. Before turning the light off the woman took a moment to consider the St. Brigid’s Cross on the wall and say a silent prayer for all in the house. At 6am came the rattle of glass from the Premier Dairies’ milkman, who left full bottles of milk on the doorstep, foil tops covering a thick layer of cream. She had been dreaming, of a crowded street and her small daughter who’d slipped her hand and got lost in the throng of shoppers. With the range lit and the porridge warming up she put a match to the first cigarette of the day. After holding the smoke in for full half minute she remembered the dream. Realizing her daughter had actually been stillborn, the smoke rushed from her lungs, through her nostrils, mixing with the tears that rolled down her face.

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James Claffey hails from County Westmeath, Ireland, and lives on an avocado ranch in Carpinteria, CA. He is fiction editor at Literary Orphans, and the author of the short fiction collection, “Blood a Cold Blue.” His work appears in the W.W. Norton Anthology, “Flash Fiction International,” and in Queen’s Ferry Press’s anthology, “Best Small Fictions of 2015.”