We were telling names, that’s all—”But what’s Nonny’s
whole name, I mean?”—when his face drew in at the center
like a blanket in a fist, and he said it: “Are we going to die, mama?”
and I knew what he was asking. It had nothing to do with
monsters in closets or bad guys with guns. I knew what he was asking,
and he wanted the truth that he already knew, so I said it.
And I held his small body, shaking with sobs of honest fear, and I
cupped cheeks and kissed nose and spoke all that I know:
“You are here. You are here.”
Courtney Thrash writes in the foothills of the Ozark mountains where she lives with her husband and son. A fifth-generation Arkansan, she is inspired by the land’s simple beauty and by her modest roots grown therein. Her work often combines a celebration of home with a restless exploration of small-time existentialism. Her words have been published in The American Scholar’s weekly poetry column, “Next Line, Please,” at For Every Mom, and are forthcoming in Rogue Homilies.