Found: Fiction & Poetry Anthology


by Tania Hershman

  Fall 2012 Fiction & Poetry Anthology  |  Contents  |  Authors  |


I don't understand it, she said, knowing that somewhere, in some country, rockets were falling, bloody world, getting bloodier. She looked at you. I don't understand it. And you were supposed to explain it? With your sagging cappuccino, your sad hands, your small face?

Me? you said, and she looked down and down into her tea as if your answer was the single greatest disappointment of her life.

new part

In bed later, there was a silence. You had been allowed to touch, with your sad hands, your small face, and she touched you too and it was mutual, you hoped, the feeling inside your belly. A whimper of a feeling, a spark-to-be, surrounded by your particular brand of defences, walls and armed guards. You wondered whether it would grow, while your armed guards paced around it and around its fortifications.

I don't understand it either, you whispered into her ear, and inside you something lit up.

new part

Later, when the big guns had come out, when you and she had made declarations and parties were amassing, she watched the news.

Look, she said as she scanned the parade of burned faces and torched cities. Look, and she pulled you so hard down towards her you thought she might snap you. She made you watch it with her, but from the side you were watching her, the way her skin shivered as the minutes passed, her eyes flicking from one thing to another, jumping and startled. You wanted to say something about destroying the television, about creating a sanctuary, but the words wouldn't come out. You held still.

new part

Over the years, she flared up less often, dulled by the infinite parade of catastrophe. You observed her as each day ended with the nightly broadcast, waiting for eruptions, planning your strategy, but they become less and less. Her surrender was such that, when the television, a replacement of the original, finally expired, she raised no objection to leaving its spot unfilled.

She turned to jigsaws, remembering a childhood passion, spread them out on the dining table and plotted their construction as a general planning manoeuvres. You were calmer too, then, as the images appeared: church scenes, flowers, complicated paintings which she furiously assembled.

When she finished, when order was restored, she sat on the sofa, holding your hand, her face alight with accomplishment, her tired eyelids falling, and outside the moon completed the world, quiet as it was in your own small corner.

end of story

© 2012, Tania Hershman. Also published in her 2012 collection, My Mother Was An Upright Piano: Fictions. Go to top