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  You could have a big dipper   

chair by P.D. Hogan

CW: Implied child abuse

|| the chair came from a schoolhouse that had closed decades before and even then it had begun to rust || but these days years of weathering had made the metal unrecognizable || placed in the yard against the fence || away from the house || before he was even born || a place for his father to sit and think || a tradition intended to be passed down || even if by force || his father sending him to that chair for all manner of reasons without regard to the state of the world || without regard for climate or weather || when the child needed correcting || the chair was the place for correction || made of hard wood || splintered || its coating long faded in all places that weren’t kept from the elements || the curve of the seat cracked in a way that started to give if you favored one side or the other || encouraging him to learn to misbehave on the beautiful days || keep secrets of his indiscretions until the rain stopped or the summer sun was setting || even though he tried more than once to destroy the chair || sometimes when he was sent there || sometimes on his own accord || anticipating what may come || each time || his father making him fix it || reinforce it || make stronger what he harmed || just out of grasp of a furthered destruction || but as he felt as it was his father’s chair it was his father’s job || especially || since he was barely tall enough to see over the mover or strong enough to push it forward over the rough terrain with invisible holes hiding even more invisible creatures || but his father assigned it to him each summer || to keep the yard mown and what better punishment than a trudge through the weeds in his shorts and long socks || catching stickers as they burrowed through his leg hairs and into his skin || a sharp pinch with every step || the summer sun adding sweat || adding salt || adding irritation || his face burning and his eyes watering each time he rubbed his hands through them || more and more attaching itself to his calves || this the reason he wore jeans deep into the summer || but not today || not when he thought he had more time || but his father attached him to that seat earlier and earlier each year || school having only just ended || not even a path to use left by deer or foxes or coyotes || just weeds folding over each other || the ground still soft with the last bits of moisture || and he sits in that chair and cleans off his legs and tries to remember if any of the pain felt deeper or more pronounced than the rest and then wondering if it really matters whether he noticed it or not when it happened because what mattered then were the two puncture marks just above his ankle and the way they bled different and the way in the hot summer breeze the path he took to get there was already blowing upright and in the distance sat his father by the back door || having placed a chair from the kitchen || flicking his cigarette into his coffee before taking a sip ||


PD Hogan is an author from the foothills outside Yosemite, CA. With a BA in english and philosophy, he is currently pursuing an MFA in creative writing from the California Institute of the Arts.

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