Inheritance

The unticked box that asks for a baby’s race. The blank birth certificate, filled in a rush the night before the legal deadline. The lace trim of her bonnet for when the scurf dapples the moving place in her head. The fresh skin that quietly forms beneath the smallpox scab and fully healed bears the same pattern of injury. The iridescence of seashells she glued on her treasure box which appeared magical. The name he can never pronounce right up until the moment he leaves.


Clementine E. Burnley is a migrant mother, writer, and community organizer. She loves to walk in the Scottish Highlands. Her work has been shortlisted in various short story competitions and most recently, nominated for a Pushcart Prize. At the moment she’s a Reader in Residence at Smokelong Magazine, and a Contributing Editor at Barren Magazine. You can read her flash pieces in the National Flash Fiction Anthology 2020, Bath Flash Fiction Anthology 2020, and Barren Magazine. Find her on clementineburnley.com, Instagram: @Ewokila, or on Twitter: @decolonialheart.