In the Wake

by Lorrie Hartshorn


My lullaby is the rumble of trucks as they cut through the town on their way to anywhere else. This is not a destination.


The horizon is an impassive witness. The brow of a hill, the curve of a road framed by firs. It watches you as you go about your daily business, crawling into adulthood then stooping back out the other side. Perhaps one day it will approach and share what it’s seen. For now, it slides further away if we, fools that we are, try to reach it.


When she left, my sister said it’s alright for you, it’s alright because this is enough for you. She left her boy child sleeping in the cot in the next room, where he sleeps now, his fat hands clutching as he dreams.


I’m not fool enough to think that someplace else is out there. Out there is more than the next town. You don’t move down a road to get someplace else. If you’re somewhere, you’re not someplace else.


A flimsy door and a woman from across the street who’ll check in on him in three hours. This is all I can offer the boy child. Better that than cold nights and mist that creeps inside your boots and hood.


The trucks that pass through town leave a trail in the air like they’ve stirred up some kind of algae. If you followed them, far into the night they drag behind them, maybe that bright trace would lead you someplace else.


I throw my anger and grief at the sky and it falls back on me in ways I can understand, in sheets of silver rain. Cold needles that tell me this is real. Sharp stabs that tell me this, here, now, is real.

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About Lorrie Hartshorn

Lorrie Hartshorn is an English literary and speculative fiction writer, whose work has appeared in The F-Word, FlashFlood, Six Sentences, 1000 Words, The Pygmy Giant, Six Words Magazine, Anthem and Vagabond. She is also a busy self-employed copywriter, editor and translator, meaning that her valiant attempts to write the next Great British Novel are frequently abandoned but never quite forgotten. She blogs at

Lorrie Hartshorn

Lorrie Hartshorn is online at