It Hits Me
He says he’s going to leave the drips of milk on his chin and laughs his four year old laugh, milk like clingy tears precarious above his good pants. A memory of something I heard a grieving mother say on Oprah pokes me like a plastic sword in the back, unexpected. She said she missed his dirty-little-boy smell, the odor of him when he came in after playing outside, a mix of dirt and sweat and residue from the day. She’d never smell it again, and she sobbed. I’d gotten it somewhere inside me at twenty or twenty-one, childless then, but not in my gut the way I do right now. I’m looking at the drips of milk on his chin, knowing they’ll be a part of his dirty-little-boy smell later, knowing I’ll sniff him into me ravenous.
Nicole Monaghan recently received First Prize Honors at the 62nd Annual Philadelphia Writers' Conference for Flash Fiction, Literary Short Story, and Creative Nonfiction. Her work appears or is forthcoming in PANK, DOGZPLOT, Literary Mama and several other fine journals. She blogs regularly about flash at http://www.writenic.wordpress.com, where she keeps links to her publications.