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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 2: March 2020
Micro-Fiction: 360 words
By Valerie Fox

Re-Gift List (Not)


Candles, socks, soaps—too obvious. Wrong size shirts? One size fits all is a dirty lie. Sweetmeats, no, I hoard. Going deeper—

The checkered skirt and wool sweater my Nana bought me when I was going through a trying breakup, even though they’re three decades and sizes too small now. Too late to give them up.

Broken Christmas tree ornaments from college friends, especially the penguin from C, who is kind to an other-worldly degree. Same with brontosaurus pencil erasers from H. We were young women making for ourselves a kind of family.

Assorted heirloom items no one bothered to give me between the ages of 25 and now (mid to late life). If I can keep at it. The smell of apple dumplings like my mother makes. Have I tried? My childhood Beatles and Simon and Garfunkel and Earth, Wind & Fire albums sold at a yard sale by my sister and parents when I was about 25 (excommunicado) and they down-sized. I was a little young for them.

Original notes toward my unfinished Blakean manifesto. Someday the right person will come along to read these. To lighten my days. A lot of Summer of Love references and imagery all locked up in my head—I can’t figure out how to get rid of them or why I still have them (I was too young to make much sense of all that).

A green and black striped scarf from X, that got lost in a series of shifting addresses and moves. I always let him pick out the apartments, what even was I thinking. And in some related storage place an antique ceramic table lamp. My Compact Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary (thanks X, twenties-husband and obvious alcoholic and major fuck-up and abuse non-survivor).

A piece of paper scrawled with incomprehensible writing by my brother on his deathbed. He still had one hand and he was left-handed. A medical message, doubtless, though some keep searching for sentiment.

Laphroiag, lots of bottles. I gave them to myself. Good for tapping out the tunes of my daily life.

Ashes (of the deceased). As if anyone needs that.

Valerie Fox
Issue 2, March 2020

has writing published in Reflex, The Cafe Irreal, The A3 Review, Across the Margin, Juked, Cleaver, New Flash Fiction Review, Sentence, Hanging Loose, among others. In 2017, PS Books published her chapbook of poems Insomniatic. One of her stories appears in The Group of Seven Reimagined: Contemporary Stories Inspired by Historic Canadian Paintings (Heritage House, 2019). Much interested in collaboration, she has published stories and poems written with Arlene Ang in Okay Donkey, Apiary, Cordite, Qarrtsiluni, New World Writing, and other journals; and in 2019, Bent Window Books published her blended-genre book, The Real Sky, with visual artist Jacklynn Niemiec.

For more info, see Valerie Fox (Writings and Interviews) at Texture Press.

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