Days on the beach under a tin sky, sand ripples on the tidal flats. Your mum doesn’t take any phone calls, your mum grabs your hand, keeps pushing you. It’s a strange holiday, cockles are popping up from the ground. The mist that began to turn white. The mainland. Your mother looks at you like you are born on a different planet. All this goes nowhere. Just out into sand. There is no end. The sound of heavy water. Does not mean anything. Your mother insisted. Come on, Elizabeth. Always dropping the h. Come on, Elizabet. Makes your name sharp, jagged clam shards. Foreign. Give her your eyes. Give her your lips. Her breath foggy with Pastis. You’re fed up with shellfish. Salt sauce. Liquid sand. Any air you eat is a disappointment.
Jonathan Cardew’s writing appears or is forthcoming in Wigleaf, Cream City Review, Passages North, Superstition Review, JMWW, Smokelong Quarterly, People Holding, and others. He is the fiction editor for Connotation Press and contributing books reviewer for Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine. He’s been a finalist in the Best Small Fictions, the Wigleaf Top 50, the Bath Flash Fiction Award, and he won a travel toothbrush once at a boules competition in northern Brittany. Originally from the UK, he lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.