My mother floats into the clouds and I am holding fast to her feet, anchoring her to the ground. We are in her room in the care home outside Dublin, the weak winter sun seeping through the windows, the barometer on the wall from when I was a child. She is not human. She is one of those mummified bodies in Central America, the ones removed from family shrines and brought home on the Feast of All Souls each year—brought home and propped in a beloved chair, surrounded by loved ones, by favorite foodstuffs, by cherished photography with siblings, grandparents and old friends. She grins, her skull pale and the teeth yellowed. Of a sudden she rises from the chair and ascends towards what had been the ceiling but is now open sky. I reach for her dangling ankles.
Irishman, James Claffey’s work appears in the W.W. Norton Anthologies, Flash Fiction International and New Micro: Exceptionally Small Fictions, and in Queen’s Ferry Press’s anthology, Best Small Fictions of 2015. He was a finalist in the Best Small Fictions of 2016, and a semi-finalist in 2017. He is the author of the short fiction collection, Blood a Cold Blue, from Press 53, and his novel, The Heart Crossways, is available from Thrice Publishing. He is on Twitter @534mu5 and Instagram as jamesclaffeywriter.