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The Plastic River

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My father is dead.

That’s what my mother says anyways, whenever she can tear herself away from those death sticks. When she can't, she stares out of the second floor window, with an empty look in her eyes. Like a broken doll.

She never says anything else about him, and I have to press really hard just to get that. I don’t know what he looks like, but based on my own skin, he must have been black. My own caramel skin doesn't match up to my mother's pale porcelain.

My dead father had always been sort of an obsession of mine. I wanted one, wanted one real bad.

At night, when the street lights finally go out, and the world is quiet, I stare awake at the thousands of faces looking back at me.

I focus on a new one every night. My father has many faces. At times he is Johnny Depp, grinning madly at me in his clown make-up, telling me to just keep smiling. Sometimes, he's Denzel Washington, looking down sternly at me, telling me that he’s out there waiting.


Tonight, he is a Brazilian model scaling the side of a seven story building, not a hair out of place. He is oddly quiet; his eyes just as blank as my mother's. The gloss of his photo shines in the moonlight that’s streaming through the holes in my curtains.

Salt fills my nostrils and wetness pools on my face. Longing sweeps through my blood, my heart folds in. Pain stings me deep in my gut, sharper than the finest blade. The ache radiates through me like the ringing of the church bell. Tolling through my mind as a raging troll, a young wolf baying for home.

Sobs rack my frame, coughs tear my throat bloody. Metal joins the smell of salt. Darkness over takes me.





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