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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 23: 28 April 2024
Microfiction: 267 words
By Sarp Sozdinler

Within An Inch Of


The night before our holidays, I received a phone call from my mother. Her voice was dry and raspy, her words stingy as ever. After we hung up, I asked Marvin to drive us out to the beach, off that shoulder of rocks to the north, all the way up to Loon Point. The wind was slapping us left and right by the time we arrived. Sitting together on the hood of the car, we held hands and watched the sky turning into a darker shade of black. He rested his head on my shoulder as I hummed a ballad from my homeland, first sang to me in my dreams by a big black bird. His breath was cool and familiar against my neck.

At one point Marvin hopped off the car and started running toward the ocean, crowing like a mad bird along the way. I followed him down the beach shortly after, but by the time I arrived he was already submerged in the water. Wherever I looked, I couldn’t spot him. I shouted his name into the wind.

In a few hours, I would have to fly home and bury my father. Marvin would have to go back to his family and open his mouth for a different kind of blessing on the other side of the ocean. It was the same ocean that now stood before me, looking all black and angry. A skein of ginger hair flashed in the distance. Amid the loud roar of waves, I couldn’t pick up any words. I wouldn’t, even if I tried.

Sarp Sozdinler
Issue 23 (April 2024)

is a writer of Turkish descent whose work has been published in American Literary Review, DIAGRAM, Electric Literature, HAD, HOBART, The Kenyon Review, The Masters Review, Maudlin House, The Normal School, and Vestal Review, among other places. His stories have been selected or nominated for anthologies (Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net, Best Small Fictions, Wigleaf Top 50) and awarded a finalist status at various literary contests, including the 2022 Los Angeles Review Flash Fiction Award. He’s currently at work on his first novel in Philadelphia and Amsterdam.

Author’s website: https://sarpsozdinler.com

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