Days on the beach under a tin sky, sand castles on the tidal flats. Your mum doesn’t take any phone calls, your mum grabs your hand, keeps pulling you. It’s a weird holiday, the caravan, the beach road, the flats. Cockles popping up from the ground, tickling your toes. The mist that turns white. Your mother looks at you like you are born on a different planet. All this sand goes nowhere. The slosh of heavy water. Does not mean anything. Your mother hisses. Come on, Elizabeth. Always dropping the h. Come on, Elizabet. Makes your name sharp, jagged clam shards. Not you. Give her your eyes. Give her your lips. Her breath foggy with Pastis. You’re fed up with shellfish. Salt sauce. Liquid sand.
Hear Jonathan Cardew read his story
Jonathan Cardew is the author of A World Beyond Cardboard (ELJ Editions). His stories can be found in Cincinnati Review, Cream City Review, Wigleaf, SmokeLong Quarterly, Best Microfiction 2021, and others. He reads for Split Lip Magazine and runs the Bending Genres features blog.