Fiction by Jennifer Stark

Pottery Fragment, early 21st century

You kill the ignition and pull on your waders, crunch the stones along the foreshore of the river. We see you looking. We see you with your hands on your knees, and the deep pockets of your coat. I’ll tell you how it started. It was the Year of the Mud, when the roads became our rivers and the rain brought landslides right up to our doorstep. We had no pockets. We cupped our hands and held them out to drink. We scooped up the wet earth and, tracking dirty footprints across the bare floors, we carried it like a firstborn to the back room of the house where we were living. We had finally grown bored of worry. We circled the mud between our palms and pressed our thumbs into their midsections. Our house became filled with our objects. We see you looking for shards. We hear you digging and rubbing off the dirt; hear how you’ll say well, this is a fine example of so and so”; how you’ll use words we don’t recognize and haven’t yet invented — because here we are just trying to hold the water, just trying to clear a way out our front door.

Jennifer Stark

Twitter: @jenniferstark
IG: @jenniferstark

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