Delaying Is Not Forgetting
Lydia Ship

I awoke, and his wish had come true. I could see him in a half-awake trance chained to the dog kennel, and the robbers in their thick pelts kicking him with knees of wood and painted shoes, and throwing him scraps of food just beyond the chain’s length. So I never wondered if the drawbridge had been put down for gangs, or for anyone. The Letter-Carrier, always a bit part, had opened a real parchment, not the wooden square glued to his hand, and he was licking it, spitting on it, and he pulled down his pants and rubbed himself against it. The box where we lay crumpled for so long opened its mouth near my head. I could not blink but my stomach gnawed at itself, and I sat up with my chin against my chest, staring at him and the food out of the reach of those hands always up my ass. I collected the sticky chicken bones and dirty scraps of potato, and I piled them into my hollow lap and ate. I ate too much. This was the first step.

Lydia Ship wishes to deconstruct Hans Christian Andersen, especially here. Her stories and poems have appeared in American Short Fiction, Denver Quarterly, Pleiades, Sonora Review and others. She is managing editor of The Chattahoochee Review.