Cheraé Clark, 2012 Writers Retreat Fellow in Fiction

Cheraé Clark, 2012 Writers Retreat Fellow in Fiction



[Applause] [Applause] all right I'm going to move you guys from the excerpt of a short story called courts and basically at this point the character has just came out to his mom as transgender and he's also about to get a surprise of his own announcement sugar fan I told him not to do it she said I told him and you need him with that woman and her family I found because that woman was my mother but my hair's caught up to library wait he told not to do what I asked on Alison earlier I guess he not to kill himself the selfish bastard she smirked sad like staring into her bierbaum my stomach seemed to plug up my throat and they lurched into the fridge on Alison's one eyebrow shot even though posture seemed to backtrack as she didn't know the counter her hand over her mouth it was not Linda's arms around me but I can only stand on Alison how did you know my mom said it was a heart attack everyone said it was a heart attack and he wasn't good for a long time I tried to convince him even I wasn't enough to keep him here I should not let go he didn't write you guys a letter he left me one I'm sure he left you want any mom well who did mom's not sharing but mommy would hide a letter for five years I knew it a crescendo of blood pumping in my ears everything else I have to go I stumble past Melanie back to my car and my mom's house I walk past everyone making a beeline in my brother's room he had to have left me something I had to have proof he wouldn't have done this to me on purpose I went straight to her desk cover well my dad was around the keep stable up now his hidden tucked into the bottom of the pen huh I checked photo albums and tax times statements and birth certificates and that's life insurance that found him it was a thick full d'squared softer like old pieces which were extra cleaning surrounded by smudges he loved reading those letters he gave me a hand notes with their birthdays and Christmas presents his writing was tiny and meticulous but some of the words have been distorted by two years take care of my brother she's a kind soul he said just different Gloria and I found my mother and her mother in the kitchen brown hands covered in fire my mother's face was still blank and her anger from when I called myself a man for the first time What's Wrong baby grandma asked I ignored her my hand tremble it's Darrell my father's last words mama was this mama stop meeting where did you get that she asked eyes narrow at the square in my hands it doesn't matter just tell me what the hell it is I said don't talk like that in front of your grandmother mama said she held her hand out before my squeeze it tightened my face does she know I waved the letter at my grandmother did you know she lied about daddy grandma response was a slow look that passed between me and my mother too slow for her to know the truth mom was strangled the deli counter Ariana keep your voice down call me Erin I said does anyone know about this with you it wasn't addressed to you honey what don't we know my grandmother nothing went on later now Angela hooked her head into the kitchen what's up y'all she glances around the river what's going on did you know that he killed himself and his face drop like I'd hit her this is the letter he wrote she grabbed the punched up piece of paper and read it holding it like a curse of Treasury money well the space was cool we have it here Angela i intercepted it curled it between my fingers everyone always said mama and graceful bodies dancers but my dad and I had graceful fingers musicians I Anna Marie I don't know how long I stood there the paper between us I couldn't say anything there was an invisible fist around my throat it took about ten days to turn that into pieces but I would later come collect while my mother cried in her room pieces that I would keep in my lab in case and rifle through before every performance at that moment though my heart had been tied to the shredded paper the only sound in the room there I said we watched until the last piece hit the ground my mother's lap kept me away over the next five years now I was back yeah

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