After Dad’s Funeral, I Look Up My Childhood Home on Google Streetview

by Kayleigh Shoen

Honorable Mention: Flash 405 February 2016, Amy Gerstler’s “6 Themes”


The camera snaps just before the birch tree out front drops the limb I branded with my name, and the escapees from my sister’s abandoned ant farm in the basement crawl space take one last mouthful of plaster to send the ranch house’s retaining walls pitching inward, the structure collapsing on itself, playroom ceiling crunching down on a My Little Pony stampede into the study where Daddy hid his Maker’s Mark behind the Canon inkjet, ink geyser squirting out over what’s left of the family photos hanging on the wood paneling, and over the splintered wood and slouching concrete, I can almost hear the refurbished stereo Dad bought after Mom took us away, The Eagles “Desperado” echoing off the empty hangers in Mom’s closet, the open front door of the broken house belching out the smell of Old Spice, rotten beer and burnt popcorn, the scent of a cowboy alone out on the prairie, as the Google van moves on, and tumbleweeds blow through.


Kayleigh Shoen is in her final year of Emerson College’s MFA program, where she teaches college composition in the FYWP and creative writing with emersonWRITES. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Allegory and Crack the Spine.

Back to Results