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Available-The Hopper Issue IV

I am excited for this edition to be available online. I wrote this piece with inspiration from my father. I edited this piece on my family's couch in Israel. It was the 2019 Pushcart Prize Nominee.

Below is a short excerpt.

You can see the issue here: Pieces will soon be shared on social media.

STOLEN (excerpt)

I never knew my father completely, but I am searching for his story. His garden is my escape. With dirt like scraps of paper, I read its scars through buried seeds.

When the peddler came with boxes, my mother and I could never agree between our four eyes whether he was hunched over and aged or wore an elegant suit. He carried a box that looked as though its strength matched no more than paper. Everything should have fallen out of its layered trays. In fact, everything did, because for my mother, buying was too easy. The twinkle and tinkle of falling seeds reminded me of rain, but such droplets are more often imagined than real, now. I wait for them, their curved and cut edges. When we were finished buying, my pockets felt neither light nor heavy, but my mother’s ears and fingers always gleamed.

One afternoon my mother offered the peddler a porch swing to rest upon and a dinner of rice and tomatoes. Full of grains and juices, he rose to leave. Upon turning the key to the engine, his boxes vibrated like the bees who’d left us for faraway alfalfa fields. Electric bulbs flickered sharp yellow and gas breath billowed into my nostrils. My mother and I turned our backs to him. I paused behind her arm that bent to catch the screen door. And then I heard the squeal, the thump, and the silence of death. Stealing a match from the sparse cupboard, I tiptoed to the bodies. They were two ringed robbers with slim fingers in gloved paws. Outside my window I had heard more than once their nails scrape on tree bark as it crumbled. Now I wondered, would I hear the abandoned babies cry? This was the mother raccoon I supposed, and one small soul in her care that followed too close. Where were the others? In the tree? Ahead of their mother? Or behind? The match was spent, but I did not stumble as I returned to the dark porch.

That night I dreamed that the universe had come to see me. But it was my father’s face that beamed from beneath the salesman’s hat.


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