Meg Pokrass: "What You Want to Tell Her"

You’re calling your sister to tell her the news about your boyfriend who says he wants to spend the rest of his life with you. You can’t wait to express your jittery gladness. Earlier in the day you weren’t going to tell her because she doesn’t have a husband anymore and she isn’t speaking with her daughter. Your boyfriend expressed to you how much he wanted to be with you forever and the rest of your days, on only your third date, when you were wading in the ocean together, it was the warmest blue day and the whitest love-bird sky and he whispered it to you. Often when you call her, she tells you that she has a very bad rash or that her face is leaking. You are used to this and she exaggerates but basically tells the truth. She tells you she feels a surge of renewed hope, in a way, because she has finally uncovered the name of a brilliant acupuncturist—one that surgeons use. Yes, you say, that is greatness, there are those special ones, you say. But you really want to make her happy about your romantic happiness because it had felt so refreshing and even if he didn’t say it out loud, you were there when he tried to say it, and it quenched a kind of thirst in you that you remember having. You are thinking how to say this to her and to give the moment what it deserves, to make it glow like pearl water, when she breaks the news about her infected ears and how they actually look pretty like that— all red and rosy and swollen up like roses.

Meg Pokrass is the author of Damn Sure Right (Press 53, 2011); My Very End of the Universe, Five Mini-Novellas-in-Flash and a Study of the Form (Rose Metal Press, 2014) and Bird Envy (Harvard Bookstore bestseller). Her stories have appeared in more than 200 literary magazines, including McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, PANK, Green Mountains Review, Five Points, and numerous anthologies, including Flash Fiction International (W.W. Norton). Her third flash fiction collection The Dog Looks Happy Upside Down is forthcoming from Etruscan Press (Spring, 2016) and a prose poetry collection Cellulose Pajamas (winner of the Blue Light Book Award) is also forthcoming. Meg serves as associate editor for Frederick Barthelme’s New World Writing, and is the founder of New Flash Fiction Review.