by madeline anthes
Something had happened to Mother. She had started staring past me, looking at something I couldn’t see.
I first dropped a finger, hoping Mother would notice and wake up. Look at it and look at me.
She had stopped cleaning herself. She ate slivers of carrot and sips of milk. She was feather thin and only stayed in a room for several minutes before floating to the next.
She didn’t notice the finger. I left it on her nightstand. She just picked up her glasses and ignored the pinkie lying next to them.
So I dropped an ear – something larger, something soft – on the coffee table. But she didn’t see it either.
When I left my leg near the bottom of the stairs, I thought she’d stop, finally, and look. I thought she’d pick it up, jiggle the calf, and look for its owner. But she just stretched a step over it and glided away.
She didn’t see any of the pieces I left around for her. By the time I was nothing but neck and tendrils of hair, I was getting desperate.
But when she overlooked my head, I had nothing left to leave her. Her eyes just grazed the room, over the top of my scalp, and drifted away.
Now we haunt this home together. She is a ghost of the woman she was, and I am all around her, my voice an empty echo asking her to come back.
Madeline Anthes is an ex-Clevelander living in Bucks County, PA with her husband and two dachshunds. She is the acquisitions editor for Hypertrophic Literary, and you can find her work in journals like WhiskeyPaper and Maudlin House. Find more of her work at madelineanthes.com, or follow her on Twitter @maddieanthes.
Art by featured artist Sirena Hildebrand.
Monsters and Lace was created by Sirena the Mermaid and Chris the Troll. They live in Lancaster, PA, with their many plant children, such as Mary the Mint and Bert the Dracaena. On any given day, you might find them romping through the forest, toting reflectors, camera gear, smoke grenades, and who knows what other props. The aim, is to tell a story via pictures, whether it be a hard road a friend has travelled, or a light hearted children’s tale. To view the world through a lens is a beautiful thing! To capture someone’s soul within a photo is a hard task, but one they aim to master.