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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 2: March 2020
Micro-Fiction: 144 words
By Roberta Beary

Twisted Pearls


The doctor wears his white coat and stethoscope, while the mother, in a pale pink suit, fidgets with her pearls. She pushes the girl forward towards the doctor, like an unwanted gift under the tree that no one bothered to wrap. The girl, not moving, stares out the window at the snow, sees the slush fighting its trip to the sewer, not wanting to go, not willing to go, but forced by the kick of a boot, a stranger whose dead eyes offer no salvation. The girl is walking backwards into her mother’s arms, which steer her to the doctor’s room. The mother says, Hush now, go inside, as she twists her pearls. The ones her daughter will inherit, long after what happened alone with the doctor are words her mother never will believe, a memory framed in slush and dirty snow.

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