The handle to the shed glinted in the afternoon sun as the diapered blonde girl stared out the screen door. Heat waves floated from the concrete of the back porch and she pressed against the mesh with her fingertips, the rubbery wire indenting her skin. The glint from the shed flashed across the back fence while the grass gave up the ghost of its moisture to the sun, each blade expiring from root to tip like a frail firework popping into the air, sighing toward the sky. She could almost smell their ashy sparks. It was a blink, a flash of memory, before she knew why the doors were open and the fans were on, before she knew why she was sweating in the heat of July in central California, before she knew why the yard was silent except for the dogs panting in the shade of the neighbor’s walnut tree, before she knew why she couldn’t go outside in bare feet and wallow in the cool dirt beneath a garden hose that dripped hot summer water on the skin between her toes.
Melanie J. Cordova is currently a PhD student in Creative Writing Fiction at Binghamton University. She has stories out or forthcoming with Crack the Spine Literary Magazine, The Santa Fe Writers Project, The Oklahoma Review, Yamassee, Larks Fiction Magazine, and The Waterhouse Review, among others. Melanie also serves as Editor-in-Chief to Harpur Palate and as the Coordinator of Writing By Degrees 2014.