Once we huddled in a half-dead Dodge Stratus.

Older sister Nan and I squeezed in the back; Mom was always passed out up front.

Nan smelled of sweat and Marlboros. She promised to vanquish invaders, clenching worn-out fists.

Some nights she’d tell me of motels we’d inhabit, then houses with large windows and intricate angles.

I absorbed her stories and arms, coldness slipping word by word.

Fifteen years later, masses demand autographs. Critics dissect my novels.

I slumber in long rooms.

Nan texts memories, while I start a fire.

Pinging texts echo over beige walls. Fire burns.

It’s still too cold.

© Yash Seyedbagheri 2020

Yash Seyedbagheri is a graduate of Colorado State University’s MFA program in fiction. His stories, ”Soon” and “How to Be a Good Episcopalian,” have been nominated for Pushcarts. He has also had work nominated for The Best of the Net and The Best Small Fictions. A native of Idaho, Yash’s work is forthcoming or has been published in The Journal of Compressed Creative ArtsWrite City Magazine, and Ariel Chart, among others.