Welcome to Issue 8 of LossLit Magazine.
A beach. Blue sky. Somewhere in America.
We can hear the sea but we can’t see it.
Large sand dunes. It’s very hot.
A girl in a bikini lies centre stage on a beach towel with her back to us.
She doesn’t move or breath.
EVELYN WILDER a young detective kneels above the girl. WILDER is black, short and wears a police blue cap and jacket. Sergeant PETE REKKER stands above the body. He’s in his late forties, older, fatter, white with a Southern accent too. He talks into a walkie talkie.
He squints in the sun
I gave up racing Logan for a while. It got boring. He is too good. He knows every shortcut, every shortcut within a shortcut, where to use the mushrooms. He set the fastest time on every track.
But I’ve been practicing. I’m ready.
Mario celebrates my return with a wahooooo!
Logan races as Donkey Kong. I’m always Luigi. Luigi is Mario’s under-appreciated brother.
First up, Mario Kart Stadium.
Come on then, this time you’re going down.
For my father
An owl was hooting in the tree-filled night.
By the old embers, which I could not stir
To yellow flame, I made my own small glow
Smoking a cigarette, near my father’s chair.
(He would not have approved.) The inner light
Of evening in the house makes cobwebs grey.
The grave must be dug the old-fashioned way, by hand with pickaxes and shovels. One scoop of earth at a time. Three feet by eight feet by four and a half feet deep. Six feet is just an old western tale. No need or want to dig that deep.
The toughest graves to dig are at the bases of big oaks and maples. The upside is that it is typically a very old person to bury if the tree had time to get that big between buying the plot and needing it.
We only had that one afternoon in the snow. We left the flat and meandered up to the park on the hill.
“I am a man.
I work downtown.
I give money to the missus.
Maybe I kick some when she runs a little short.
I give her a nice house. It has gas, electric light, and hot water.
All she has to do is keep it clean.”
— Advert for the Hoover, c1945, United States
“The first problem for all of us, men and women, is not to learn but to unlearn.”
The indifferent scale.
The quarry, the calcite,
the silicon, the mine,
the lorry, the sulphite,
nanocarbon, the time.
One day I will write of the horrors I witnessed that summer when the homes that once saw light and life were engulfed in flames.
I was scared of you as a child, and for most of my adult life.
We used to cautiously meet you at the front door to gauge the air and smell your breath when you arrived home from work.
“It’s all going to pieces,” he moans.
“The door was open. I’m selling fish,” I say. “It’s frozen. I have it in the van. Do you like fish? Cod loins? Crab canapés? Greenland halibut? All excellent value. Keeps for months. Do you have a freezer?”
We stand on the roof of a car which does not belong to us, the icy air burning our lungs. Snow crunches beneath our heels – mine ridiculously high, yours flat with a heavy tread suitable to the weather. You grip my waist. You convinced me to climb up here, looked around to check we were alone, and then gave me a leg up. I slipped – it happened so quickly that you could not save me – and my face nearly collided with the wing mirror. I yelped. My knees hit the ground, but the snow muffled the blow. You laughed and continued to help me up, your hands unsteady under the influence. Beer. New Year’s Eve. Hope.