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Nicole Callihan | Diction

What would be the right word? He asks. I hold the question in my mouth like a hard candy, suck it ‘til my tongue is raw. Yes, what would be the right word, or why or how, or who might be the right word, or

you. Try pomegranate, rain, rifle. Listen, the only time I ever held a gun it was yours: I fired it into the dead of midnight sky. That’s a lie. There was another afternoon when the sun was an arrowhead, and I couldn’t stop shooting Cheerwine cans off a barbed wire fence. I keep thinking I’ll die, but instead I wax my uncomely privates, heat up fish sticks, try to find the right words for things. I write words I don’t mean, say words that are mean, catch my daughter writing words that aren’t right. We don’t say this word, I tell her, even though we do and have and will. In the dim of the kitchen, she starts ripping the paper in pieces and placing those pieces into her mouth. What

are you doing? I ask. Swallowing them, she says. Stop it, I say, you don’t have to do that, but she nods her head. Finally I join her, take a shred into my own mouth, taste it, work it with my weak jaw. These are our true and terrible words. Eat them.

SF&D | xxix

SF&D | Summer/Fall 2015  

SHORT | Prose & Poetry Khadija Anderson | Floundering // Khadija Anderson | Hope, The Architect // G. Ryan Spain | Ants // G. Ryan Spain | H...

SF&D | Summer/Fall 2015  

SHORT | Prose & Poetry Khadija Anderson | Floundering // Khadija Anderson | Hope, The Architect // G. Ryan Spain | Ants // G. Ryan Spain | H...

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