On the porch, the radio plays old tunes. Sometimes our heads bob. I’m on the top step. Below me, Bianca sits behind my little sister, Tia, braiding her hair. She combs out Tia’s rough hair with an orange comb, applies grease. Bianca doesn’t have rough hair, no. She has good hair. Tia doesn’t care much for Bianca because of that. It’s a girl thing, I guess.
My mama used to do Tia’s hair. She was gentler with that orange comb. She’d even cut my hair when it got too long. Boys shouldn’t have long hair, she’d say. But I loved it when she’d cut it. We’d talk about life, me becoming a man, and sometimes about my father. Her gentle hands would glide the clippers through my hair, trimming it to her liking. I would feel like a new me afterwards. But now my hair’s the longest it’s ever been. It gets longer by the day, it seems.
It’s hot out, even hotter with this long hair. Inside’s no better. The Mississippi sun tans us, sweat beads dot our black skin. I hold a cup of lemonade to my forehead, then take a swallow, ice cubes kiss my lips. It’s more sugar than lemon—Bianca’s doing. I watch her jerk Tia’s head with that orange comb again, smearing more grease. The comb works through the hair. The sweet, greasy fragrance sweeps across my nose. Continue reading “ISSUE 17: MARCH 2018”→
Many thanks to the 180 writers who entered our contest and to Judge Adam Kluger who created the art prompt and volunteered his time to select three prizewinners.
First Prize: The Lion’s Tooth by Nell Jenda
Second Prize: A Night With Old Friends by Chris Espenshade
Third Prize: Infinite Morning by Alyson HilbourneJudge:
A quick note to thank you so much for participating in the Art Prompt Writing Contest. It is such an honor to have so many talented writers participate.
In my opinion there are 180 winners. Each entry I’ve had the pleasure to read is making its own very strong argument for recognition. But contests being what they are, only three of you will win prizes.
So what was actually going on in the painting? In case you are curious—the painting shows a writer sitting by himself in deep thought at a diner (The New Amity Diner in NYC) with a red-nosed waiter named Frankie stationed behind him. The painting was rendered in charcoal pencil with pastels and some water-color mixed in to create a grainy feel. On the ceiling is a old fashioned fan emitting some yellow light. That’s it.