Serving House: A Journal of Literary Arts
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293 words
SHJ Issue 16
Spring 2017


by Liz Mitchell

The bowl shatters beneath my hands, sending shards of glass across Formica and tile deep into the grooves of my palm. I cracked a smooth brown egg against its beveled edge—chipped since the Great Depression—and it all came apart, exploding in every direction from the direct pressure of an eggshell. Because sometimes the smallest exertion of stress is enough. Like this morning when a hangnail on my toe ripped through my black stocking, my only pair, and started a tear that grew, running up my ankle, my calf, and ending on the inside of my thigh, just above that ugly scar from my birthday last year. Or this afternoon when I stood above you, entirely too still, and threw that clod of dirt. I sighed and just that tiny rush of air began something I can’t name but have to feel anyway and I hate it and I hate you and I hate this shard of glass in my palm. It’s green, like jade or celery, and almost translucent so that, with a little practice, I might be able to see my lifeline stretching out on the other side of it. But how far does it stretch? Does it run as deep as this glass, spanning decades from my grandmother’s grandmother’s table to mine? Loaves of bread batter kneaded and punched against its smooth inner curves, bushels of green beans snapped and boiled and seasoned for every Sunday lunch from 1919 to somewhere around 1983 when Sundays stopped happening. Because lines of DNA and wide-open planes of memory cease eventually, abruptly, like the car crash two days ago, like the last breath you took, one deep inhale, that I finally exhale because the glass in my hand dissolved.


SHJ Issue 16
Spring 2017

Liz Mitchell

earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Evansville and her MFA from Murray State University. Her work has appeared in The Evansville Review and Family Fiction’s 2014 Anthology: The Story. Her first novel, Torchbearers, is forthcoming in 2017 with Tate Publishing. Liz lives near Nashville, Tennessee with her family and enjoys managing her favorite tree-care company.

“...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