Yash Seyedbagheri is a graduate of Colorado State University’s MFA program in fiction. A self-proclaimed Romantic and Big Lebowski addict, Yash’s work is forthcoming or has been published in WestWard Quarterly, Café Lit, (mac)ro (mic), and Ariel Chart.
Mother sends a Christmas card. It’s been six months since she left. My older sister Nan sent a letter, asked her to come home.
Nan peruses the letter, arches an eyebrow.
“What’s it say?”
She inhales and crumples the card with frightening strength.
“She loves us.” Nan smiles, a weary smile. “That’s the most important thing, honey. Toss this.”
I hurl the card into the fireplace, try to avert sharp cursive. Nan tries to pull me away from the fireplace. Too late.
Fire crackles. The card grows blacker and crumples with methodical precision. Rawness expands.
Some things can’t be burned.
Hierarchy of Names
Nick’s stepfather, Cyril, offers Nick his surname. Nick’s thirty-three.
Nick is moved by the insistence, the gesture from one man to another, neither linked by blood.
Once he bore a father’s name that held lectures, Polo cologne, calculation, and using and discarding people. He discarded Mother and a litany of girlfriends.
Nick wants to choose a name. Dubois? DiCenzo? They convey glaring artifice.
His stepfather offers his surname again.
At least Nick would be part of a family of writers and actors, people who recite soliloquies playing bongos. Mother would feel completion too.
Maybe, Nick says. And maybe he means it.