by Jacob Fowler
My uncle who is in a cult is coming for thanksgiving again this year.
He has been in a cult for thirteen years and this is the third thanks-
giving in a row that he’s made. This, according to my dad, is a new
record for him and, also according to my dad, my uncle who is in a
cult was taking lithium last year but it didn’t work and just made
him feel cloudy. My uncle who is in a cult is going to sleep on the
couch and I’ll sleep on the floor and we’ll all pretend not to
notice that my dad has moved all his stuff into the guest room.
Last thanksgiving my mom, perhaps unconsciously, made a vegetable
medley that was too spicy and my uncle who is in a cult accidentally
touched his right eye and a chili flake made his right eye leak tears
and he said that was the first good cry he’s had in years and he told a
story of how his last dog died and he was on lithium and he was
absolutely fucking torn up but couldn’t cry and we all listened politely,
as if we were sitting with our hands folded, as if the world flat under
our feet was still there, as if the dog was in the room, as if it would
have mattered if the dog was in the room—
Jacob Fowler (he/him/his) is an elementary school teacher living in Oakland, California. He recently graduated from Pitzer College with a BA in World Literature. His work has appeared in Barren Magazine, Selcouth Station, Soft Cartel, and The Sunlight Press, among others. You can find him on Twitter @jacobafowler.