The sky was an over-bleached sheet, stretched to the point of ripping. Everything worn but clean. He was saying he’d be happier if we lived in Canada. The sun seemed very close, like a star at the top of a Christmas tree. Maybe I could pull it down. Our baby had died, but he didn’t call it a baby. This was the year we lived on 32nd Street. That spring, I sprayed lavender water on our pillows. Groceries rotted in the back of the fridge, and we spent too much money at the diner. We had a yellow dog named Charlie, who curled up with me at night when he was gone. I thought about my baby and cried without relenting. Then, after a few weeks, I stopped. By then I’d lost my job. But I felt almost happy, outside, hanging our clothes to dry and looking up at sky. Sheets fluttered.

“Makes me think of a bygone era,” I told him. “Hanging out our laundry, that is.”

“Yes, smells nicer this way,” he agreed.

I thought we knew one another. I kissed his forehead. Then I went inside to sleep with the dog. He had a lion’s mane and a nose like velveteen.

–“Pillow” has also appeared in MAKE magazine and PRODUCT.

Related Posts
Filter by
Post Page
Why I Write Featured Fiction New Fiction
Sort by

Why I Write: Jason Half-Pillow

I write because I can’t really do much else. I can do other things but not things that require concentration. I c
2015-11-23 06:39:34


“5 AM”

Jeremy says I’m a waste of weed because I can never pull anything into my lungs. Now
2019-10-14 23:49:29


“The Reckoning”

I was four years old the first
2019-07-05 23:29:53


“Two Flash Pieces”

Linger The alien at the foot of my bed
2019-06-05 09:21:27



He’s in the soft green center of the fourteenth fairway when the shouting starts. Steve cranes his head back toward t
2019-05-01 09:20:40



He’s in the soft green center of the fourteenth fairway when the shouting starts. Steve cranes his head back toward t
2019-01-21 11:22:55


“What We Don’t Say Out Loud”

Maharishi doesn’t speak to me anymore. Neither does God.  But sometimes, the bald guy behind the counter at the Vi
2018-10-19 10:18:41


“Summer, Connecticut, 1986”

It was the damp we remember best, the sour smell of wet skin, the webs of moisture that crisscrossed the backs of
2018-09-03 13:39:24


A Brief Talk Near the End

The professor was dying. His wife had preceded him three years before, and now he had less than one month. During
2018-07-23 16:48:01


“Free: Poisoned Apple, Gently Used”

The flawless skin possesses not a single bruise or freckled spot. No bumps or scars or dimples to see. My gnarled
2018-07-02 13:33:39


Claudia Smith

About Claudia Smith

Claudia Smith's short-shorts have appeared in several literary journals and anthologies, including Norton's n Norton’s New Sudden Fiction: Short-short Stories from America and Beyond and Akashic's LONE STAR NOIR. She has been nominated for the Pushcart several times. Her collections THE SKY IS A WELL and PUT YOUR HEAD IN MY LAP are available from Rose Metal Press and Future Tense Books, respectively.