Written by Cameron Calonzo

Edited by Rodlyn Mae-Banting

My father is in a jar on the kitchen counter. 

He smells of rotting peaches, nauseatingly sweet, 

and sometimes wisps of smoke leak out of the lid. 

At night I can hear whining,

high-pitched like a child’s,

sometimes reminiscent of a whistling kettle,

coming from the kitchen.

I’ve started sleeping on the couch

to be closer to him.

(I don’t really sleep. I pretend.)

In my heart, he is dead 

and I have killed him. 

The knife has been soaking in bleach for years 

but I’m starting to think nothing’s happened;

the red looks a shade darker, if anything.

Nothing short of tearing my eyes out of my head 

will be enough. Nothing short of 

severing my synapses, snipping them clean off 

like the stem of a withered orchid. 

A void to soothe the inertia.

My grief is not a sudden downpour. 

Rather a trickle, slow like honey, 

as time creeps by. I hear it dripping off the counter, 

the frail, rhythmic splash echoing off the tiled floor, and

I get down on my knees, open my mouth directly 

beneath the stream. Lick the grief from my lips,

wincing as it stains my teeth, as it pools

around my ankles. When I try to stand, my legs

stay glued inexorably in place, sticky

and unrelenting, bruised and abrasive.

Now that my eyes are half-dried, he smells more like pickled radishes. 

Like sweat and char—the fire barging through the door

and making itself at home. He sounds like smoke alarms,

like minor keys and incessant, restless machines beside 

hospital beds. He tastes like blood.

The perfume bottle on the counter with 

the crack running through it.

The glass finally empty.

Illustration by Vivi Hashiguchi
Instagram: @vivihashiguchi

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s