covered in the closet will not only remain; it’s possible and even likely
that a stranger’s face might stare into this same mirror, and never see
the shadow of his face, and another child might hover anxiously over
Boardwalk and Park Place, hoping that his little brother lands in jail (as
his eventually did, after being dishonorably discharged).
Despite his delight in the world, he’s had enough. Yes, enough. More
than he can bear. He doesn’t know how it will happen, but he knows he
is ready to move on. After his death he’ll return as a malignant spirit
haunting the men he saw kill a family, or he might be reborn as a nest
of spiders inside their ears, a cancer in their bones, or a raging spouse.
Or maybe he will change his mind and stay.
Askold Melnyczuk has published four novels. He’s received
a three-year Lila Wallace–Readers’ Digest Award in fiction,
the McGinnis Award in fiction, and the George Garret Award
from AWP for his contributions to the literary community. He’s
founding editor of Agni and Arrrowsmith Press.