My Mother in the Floorboards by Leonora Desar

My mother said she would haunt me. And she did. She haunted. She haunted in the floor. She didn’t have the nerve to go up in the sky and haunt like a proper mother, she had to go into the floor. This was just like her. She was like Woody Allen, without the chutzpah, she wanted everyone to have the chutzpah for her. She was content to watch it on TV. It felt more real on TV, than if it were really happening, she said, let’s watch TV and eat Chinese. And we did, me and her and Dad’s ghost, we sat around eating shrimp chow fun. And Mom said, doesn’t that feel great. She meant the logs. The Yule logs for Christmas, they were burning, they were burning on TV, they were burning in her heart of hearts, she felt them, right in the core of her. Dad said, how about we turn on that space heater. And Mom said, no, I am burning in my heart. And now she is dead. She is burning. She is telling me not to drink that wine and what does it mean, have I turned into an alcoholic, that I have this one bottle of wine, and who is that man, and why is he naked. She takes a closer look. She feels it in her heart of hearts. His nudity. It is burning with the logs, it is burning. My mother, she is burning. She is burning with my father, they are in the floorboard, they are saying, can you please pass that remote.


Leonora Desar’s writing can be found or is forthcoming in Passages North, Harpur Palate, SmokeLong Quarterly, Devil’s Lake, Psychology Today, Bath Flash Fiction Volume Two, where she was shortlisted, and elsewhere. She also received an honorable mention in Glimmer Train’s Very Short Fiction Award, and was a finalist for Black Warrior Review’s flash prose contest and SmokeLong Quarterly’s Kathy Fish fellowship. She lives in Brooklyn and holds an MS from the Columbia Journalism School.

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