Candle: The flash fiction of Francine Witte

Candle

By Francine Witte

Six months gone, but it’s still my sister’s birthday, and so we buy a cake.

Daddy lights the candle. He looks at the rest of us. What’s left of us. Who will get her birthday wish, he asks.

My older sister’s hand shoots up. I carried her up to her deathbed, she says. That wish belongs to me.

Daddy sniffs and says that is typically selfish of her. Then he looks at my brother.

My brother says this is creeping him out and can he just go back to his room?

Daddy says, stay put, young man. Your sister loved you very much.

I hated her, my brother says. I was happy when she died.

We all were. Daddy’s favorite. Daddy always taking her side.

Daddy inhales and stabs the knife into the cake, the candles still burning, unwished on, after all.

We all know what Daddy is thinking. He is wishing in his head. He is wishing that we’d all grow up and disappear already. And if he says it out loud, it might not come true.


Francine Witte is the author of four poetry chapbooks and two flash fiction chapbooks. Her full-length poetry collection, Café Crazy, has recently been published by Kelsay Books. She is reviewer, blogger, and photographer. She is a former English teacher. She lives in NYC.

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