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Flash Fiction
449 words
SHJ Issue 15
Fall 2016

Letter to a Deceased Husband

by Gloria G. Murray

Dearest Husband,

It should please you to know that the porch you made with your stellar carpentry skills and stained each year with polyurethane, even though I complained how bad it smelled and took so long to dry, has been painted a hideous green and is peeling down to raw wood.

And it might also please you to know that the first year I tried to grow tomatoes and basil in your fertile soil, they grew miraculously, but the weeds formed an army and now I have a peculiar assortment of tarantula stalks. So I grow tomatoes in a pot that, instead of juicy beefsteaks, spawn hard red growths the size of olives, but the basil and parsley do well. Nothing stops basil though the leaves bear strange holes from some unidentified insect(s).

And the lawn that has patches of straw and perky dandelions gets mowed only twice a month and watered rarely, because the hose is always leaking and tripping me every opportunity it can. The balding spots that I’ve tried to impregnate refuse my seed. Many of the trees are already torn down but still new ones grow out of the barks. Vines cover the shed making it look like something out of Little Shop of Horrors.

And it will also please you to know that the wallpaper in the bathroom is peeling and crazy glue does not fix everything and takes days to get off my fingers with swabs of nail polish remover. The closet doors in our bedroom are falling off the track, the knobs on the kitchen cabinet are stripped, and I can’t empty the humidifier in the crawl space, because I can no longer crawl.

And it will also please you to know that I’m taking out the garbage pails and even painted our address on the kitchen one by mistake. When there were maggots in the pails, I cleaned it with bleach while screaming out the F word 6X and spent the whole day seeing white squiggles in front of my eyes. Also, I now kill bees and wasps, spraying them with hairspray or beating them to death with anything I can find, even a hammer.

I have a collection of handy Jimmies—(seriously, there are five of them) electricians, plumbers, painters, snow removal, lawn guys, etc.—all taking large bites out of your pension and social security. I still can’t check the oil in the car because actually I’m still trying to figure out how to open the hood.

And finally, it will extra please you to know I’ve tried all the dating sites and that according to, I am, essentially, unmatchable.

Yours Eternally,

—Previously published in Indiana Voice Journal (1 August 2016); appears here by author’s permission

SHJ Issue 15
Fall 2016

Gloria G. Murray

has been published in various journals including The Paterson Review, Poet Lore, Bardic Echoes, Third Wednesday, The Ledge, The Literary Quarterly, and others. One of her poems was honored by Ted Kooser in his on-line column American Life in Poetry. She is the recipient of poetry awards, including the 2014 first prize Anna Davidson Rosenberg award from Poetica Magazine. She writes stories and essays, as well as one-act plays, two of which have been performed on Long Island and off-Broadway, and she is an active member of PPA and Poets & Writers, Inc.

“...we have been born here to witness and celebrate. We wonder at our purpose for living. Our purpose
is to perceive the fantastic. Why have a universe if there is no audience?” — Ray Bradbury