Kathryn Mockler

Kathryn Mockler’s writing has been published in THE BUTTER, VOL. 1 BROOKLYN, and GEIST. She is the author of the poetry books THE PURPOSE PITCH (Mansfield Press, 2015), THE SADDEST PLACE ON EARTH (DC Books, 2012) and ONION MAN (Tightrope Books, 2011). She is the Toronto editor of JOYLAND and the publisher of the online literary and arts journal THE RUSTY TOQUE.

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THE HOUSE FIRE

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The past and the future were standing on the lawn awaiting the fire truck as they watched their house going up

in flames.

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The future had remembered to bring a hanky on his way out and was crying into it and blowing his nose.

Actually he was weeping.

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The past was dry-eyed and yawning and complaining about it being past her bedtime.

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The future turned to her angrily: —Why aren’t you upset about this? How can you even think about going to

sleep?

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The past yawned again and scratched her itchy eyes. Something in the air was giving her an allergy. —It doesn’t

really affect me, she said. —I wasn’t going to live here. You were.

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THE SUNBURN

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On a particularly hot day in July, the past was sunbathing on the wood deck when the future barked at him: —

That’s not good for you.

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The past didn’t reply because he was in that half-awake, half-asleep state that he so often enjoyed.

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The future shook his head at the past and got into his little white motorboat to go fishing for pike. He had a

bucket of minnows, a net, a rod, a fish bat, and even a little cooler where he stashed some beer and a snack. The

sky was blue and the water was still. It truly was the most perfect day to fish.

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The future didn’t say when he’d be back and the past had not bothered to ask.

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Neither the past nor the future had decided what they were going to make for dinner that night. The past had a

vague memory of some frozen hamburger defrosting on the kitchen counter but couldn’t remember if he had put

it out yesterday morning or today. In either case, the hamburger would likely now be spoiled.

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The sun was setting on the lake and the whole sky turned a beautiful orange and red and grey. When the past

finally sat up, he suddenly realized that he was burnt to a crisp. Tiny white blisters had formed all over his

shoulders, stomach, arms, and legs. And his skin was so red it looked like he’d just been doused in boiling

water.

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As he tried to move, the past winced and cried out at the searing pain which was so bad even tears formed in his

eyes. He had not cried in some time so the tears were certainly a surprise.

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Realizing it was starting to get late, the past took off his sunglasses and scanned the lake for a sign of the future.

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But there was none.

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Not a single boat could be seen along the horizon.

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—That’s strange, the past said to himself, a little puzzled, a little shocked. —I just assumed he’d be there.

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