Fiction from Mikki Aronoff

Six sewing needles, each with a different colored thread, on a white background

Photo: Dan Cristian Pădureț


~ after Li-Young Lee

Tonight, as all nights, my dog claws and burrows under the covers, whimpers and wrestles head-to-head with day’s demons. Is that memory’s nightwork? Soon, still. I reach to make sure he’s breathing, touch the soft ruff of his neck. He turns on his back, offers his chest for stroking. He wears his heart like an old sweater.


My cousin excels at packing, arrives lacquered and tanned, bubbling pearled opinions. She reads me like a comic book, fells me with every pressed and folded directive she pulls from her suitcase, along with presents I’ll stow with the others in the attic until her next inspection.


Gram asks for a head skritch while she hems my skirts with her yardstick, croons words in syntax I can’t grasp. Mother hangs back in the doorway, scoffs Old World trying for New. Bubbe’s teeth clack as she folds the hem, sticks pins, slips into Yiddish into soldiers into sabers into steel. Needles fly from her mouth, thread ties her tongue. What is unspoken rips. Mother winces with every scissored glance. My fingers oily from her mother’s scalp.


Screech of knife, and the sausage on my plate hisses like a neck laid bare. Reek of dung, of hooves chopped at the knuckle. And ravening butchers with latexed hands keep slicing, stuffing. I’ve had it with dread, its char. Its loneliness like bones.

Mikki Aronoff’s work appears in New World Writing, MacQueen’s Quinterly, Tiny Molecules, The Disappointed Housewife, Bending Genres, Milk Candy Review, Gone Lawn, Mslexia, The Dribble Drabble Review, The Citron Review, and elsewhere. She’s received Pushcart, Best of the Net, Best Small Fictions, Best American Short Stories, and Best Microfiction nominations.

1 Comment

  1. Kathryn Silver-Hajo says:

    Gorgeous, soulful story by Mikki Arofnoff. Love!

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