by Mary Grimm

HANNAH IS WRITING a letter. ‘Dear A—’ she writes and then stops. Her attention is flighty this morning, she hardly knows where her mind is. A is for apple, she thinks, although it’s not the season for them. A round fruit, often red. She has been sitting on the grass behind the house and now she gets up. The air is cool. The grass is long. The garage has a vine growing up the side, ‘Dear A,’ she says, ‘the lawn mower is broken. There is a large hole at the bottom of the yard. An abyss, in fact. It might lead to the other side of the world, or to hell.’ These are not things that A wants to hear about, however. A doesn’t want to hear anything at all, possibly. She sits on a different patch of grass and begins again. ‘Dear A,’ she writes. ‘I almost never think of you.’ (This is not true.) ‘I would like it if you came and took your things away.’ (Partly true.) A is for anecdote—a short, entertaining story: Once upon a time, A told Hannah that her upper lip was his favorite part of her. His second was her legs, seen from the back. ‘I’ve cut my hair,’ she writes. ‘You’d hardly know me.’ (She’d like this to be true, some of the time.) She lies back on the grass, the better to see the sky, which she wants to say is azure, but in the Midwest, it’s always blue. ‘Dear A,’ she says, ‘if you see me, don’t say anything. Don’t say a word. The word you shouldn’t say is ‘abandoned.’ Also, don’t say ‘assault’ under any circumstances.’ Hannah’s neighbor is looking out of her bedroom window but Hannah can’t be bothered about that now. A is for aftermath. The clouds are hardly moving. The trees are still, their leaves ready to drop.


Mary Grimm has had two books published, Left to Themselves (novel) and Stealing Time (story collection), and a number of flash pieces in places like Helen, The Citron Review, and Tiferet. Currently, she is working on a YA thriller.