Kelsey Dean


I dropped my sister down a sewage grate

when I was ten—by accident, just the mis-

grip of her little hand, a gentle breaking,


like the soft tearing of a bread crust.

She slipped into the darkness

without a scream.  The only sounds


were lapdogs braying, distant,

and the far rumble of a lawnmower

carrying on. Everything green, afternoon-


bright, all summer-garden-whimsy, lemonade

stands and painted mailboxes, all wrong.

We dreamed of a dog without a lead


when we walked along our road, humming

and wishing on dandelion puffs for that

kind of loyal. My cold fingers scrabbled


at the air for a leash, a rope to pull

my sister back. I searched the crabgrass

for a hidden path to follow, the footprints


of a goblin king, anything to make a deal,

to save her, my chest like the grate: an empty

black mouth without so much as an echo


or the glimmer of a crumb.

KELSEY DEAN spends most of her spare time stringing words together and training her hands to draw the pictures in her head. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in several publications, including Cicada, Glint Literary Journal, Persistent Visions, and Lilac City Fairy Tales. She is also a Pushcart Prize nominee. You can view more of her creations here: http://kelseypaints.tumblr.com.

Back to Issue 3 - Spring / Summer 2017