Genevra Levinson

Issue 3: Flash Fiction

A Letter to My Mother

Carapace Ironeye

3rd Oaken Row Ste.

1 Cravat’s Backbone

West Baldrick Mt.

29 October, 2019

Dear Mother,

I am not writing to you because you are on your deathbed. You are not; though if you were, it would seemingly make my grief less complicated.

If you were dying, I would fly to your side and tell you, of course I forgive you; that’s the sort of people we are—Not ones to judge our relatives for their thieving, brutal, fetishistic ways, or hold grudges against our sadistic, infanticidal parents. Who hasn’t stabbed their brother for a soda can ring pull? Or enjoyed the warm, salty blood of an injured sparrow, eaten half-alive shortly after it has crashed into a well-polished window pane? What father hasn’t thrown his offspring from a great height, half hoping they wouldn’t achieve flight before a grisly meeting with the ground?

If you died, I would gather at your solemn wake with the members of your murder to regard the way you died: eaten by an owl, or hit by a car, or (worst of all) liver failure. The loudest of the clan would fly to the treetops and cackle the tragic, cautionary tale as a warning for all posterity, inscribed in our deep ancestral memory for the ages.

If you were dead, my father, brothers, aunts, and cousins, and I would race to your former abode and tear apart its walls, stick by feather by bone, and fight each other for the gleaming treasures you have hoarded and left behind. I, in particular, covet your lifetime collection of mercury dimes.

And that would be the end of it. No more dark currents of resentment and unresolved anger, no more bitter battles in which you try to pluck my heart out, no more conspiring with the local foxes to have you murdered-for-hire. I would finally stop wishing for you to fundamentally alter your very nature and be “nice” to me, instead of such an old crone, and you would stop wishing I’d never been born, cursing the brightness of the sun on the morning I hatched one day too early and my father wouldn’t let you eat me (small though I was) because he had a touch of something kindly that defied all the logical pragmatism of the survival of a species of such heritage and pedigree as ours.

But you are neither dead, nor dying. You may yet live to torment me for generations to come.

Of two things I am certain; three things I will say to you: I forgive you. I hate you. I never want to see you again. This is, perhaps, the currency of love—To love in the only terms accessible for the blackhearted, the wary, the conflicted. Our curse is not to herald doom, as it is said among the human vermin, but to bear the threads of kinship and companionable desire within our twisted, cunning hearts.

Until You Die,


Genevra Levinson is writer and therapist-in-training in Seattle, WA. When she isn’t writing or contemplating the relationship between neurobiology and personal narrative, she can be found foraging plants indigenous to the Pacific Northwest or feeding crows on church property.

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