Before the Hurricane

The father sits, himself furniture. The dog on the floor pops head-up, smells the smell of danger as only dogs can do. The mother, a mattress up in the bedroom. The roof with its shingles, the edges lifting in the building-up wind. Two brothers in the den, divvying up their toys. The soldiers can live here with you and mom, the smaller one says. Outside, the trees, a shimmer, a shiver, a shake. The daughter, who has always loved her father more, and will, of course, go with him, is listing her boyfriends, deciding which ones she wants to keep.

Francine Witte has stories in Best Small Fictions 2022, and Flash Fiction America (W.W. Norton.) Her recent books are Dressed All Wrong for This (Blue Light Press,) The Way of the Wind (AdHoc fiction,) and The Cake, The Smoke, The Moon (ELJ Editions,) Just Outside the Tunnel of Love (Blue Light Press.) She is flash fiction editor for Flash Boulevard and The South Florida Poetry Journal. She lives in NYC. Twitter: @francinewitte.