Nest of Thorns

Artwork by Annelise Gray

On the floor, about two feet away from my face, are the remnants of the crack pipe I found earlier. Its splintered shards wink in the light of the late afternoon. Still sitting upon my chest, he lowers his furious face inches from mine. His breath is sweet and sickly: it reminds me of when he was an infant. I couldn’t produce enough milk and he didn’t tolerate Enfamil well. 

 Your son is a “failure to thrive” baby, the pediatrician had lectured me. 

Jeremy’s hands tighten around my neck. Failure. Thrive. My hand finds the largest shard. Blood.

A version of this microflash appeared in Versification’s Misfit Micros in June 2021.

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