Home
Editor's Page
YM Artists' Page
"Skeeter", the Official YM Mascot
YM Guidelines
Contact Us & Links to Other Sites
Factoids
Carryout: Fiction by Daniel C. Bartlett
Out of Gas: Fiction by Ron Capshaw
A Good Book: Fiction by Robert Pettus
Happy Hour at the Grown Folks Bar: Fiction by Pamela Ebel
Blocks: Fiction by Mark Jabaut
Nobody Puts Liza in the Closet: Fiction by Hillary Lyon
No Going Back: Fiction by Ken Luer
Thanks for the Help: Fiction by Roy Dorman
Cook Moves On: Fiction by Kenneth James Crist
Strickland's Last Day: Fiction by Paul Beckman
I Like Gorillas: Fiction by William Kitcher
The Hard Man: Fiction by Lester L. Weil
How I Shot My First Husband: Flash Fiction by Brad Rose
Alive Another Day: Flash Fiction by KJ Hannah Greenberg
The Monster of Hinchley: Flash Fiction by Michael D. Davis
Two Down: Flash Fiction by Joe Surkiewicz
Waiting Room: Flash Fiction by Cathi Stoler
"68": Flash Fiction by Cindy Rosmus
Bobbie Gets Her Divorce: Flash Fiction by Robb White
Murder by the Numbers: Poem by Robert Jeschonek
A Pinch Point: Poem by Janna Rollins
Now I'm 64: Poem by Di Schmitt
Hard Work Damned on the Road to Extinction: Poem by Richelle Lee Slota
The Lonely Planet Guide to Death: Poem by Richelle Lee Slota
my mind: Poem by Meg Baird
the non: Poem by Meg Baird
giant cottonwood tree: Poem by Judith Nielsen
great orange orb: Poem by Judith Nielsen
and they are prancing: Poem by ayaz daryl nielsen
crows in our hayloft: Poem by ayaz daryl nielsen
spring kicks off its boots: Poem by ayaz daryl nielsen
Necessity: Poem by Richard LeDue
A Reason to Put the Rent Up: Poem by Richard LeDue
Giving Up on Hope: Poem by Richard LeDue
Abstract Art: Poem by John C. Mannone
The Apartment Building: Poem by John C. Mannone
Disinfected: Poem by John C. Mannone
Cartoons by Cartwright
Hail, Tiger!
Angel of Manslaughter
Strange Gardens
Gutter Balls
Calpurnia's Window
No Place Like Home
ALAT
Dark Tales from Gent's Pens

KJ Hannah Greenberg: Alive Another Day

93_ym_aliveanotherday_kjhannah.jpg
Art by KJ Hannah Greenberg 2022

Alive Another Day

 

by KJ Hannah Greenberg

 

 

A senior citizen protected by a large straw sun hat and elsewise covered from wrists to ankles, makes her way among tombstones. She pauses at one.

“Larry, it’s two months, one week and six days past my seventieth birthday. Why aren’t you here to rejoice with me? We agreed I’d go first.

“I’m so miserable without you. The insurance money’s keeping me afloat and the kids visit . . . sometimes, but life’s no good alone.

“You nasty piece of work! You promised to outlive me.”

 

****

 

“I’m alive!”

“Yes, Ma.”

“I’ve been granted the gift of waking up again!”

“Yes, Ma.”

“That’s three months, two weeks and five days past my seventieth birthday!”

“Yes, Ma. Yesterday was three months, two weeks and four days past your seventieth birthday.”

“Oh Honey, you’re keeping count.”

“Don’t have to—you do.”

“You bet! We’re only guaranteed seventy years and I’ve been given a reprieve to live longer.”

“Not so amazing; the average female life expectancy, here, is eighty-two.”

“You don’t say.”

“I don’t. I read it in Statista.”

“For everyone?”

“Nope, for first-world countries, mostly. You were born in the right place, at the right time.”

“Counting COVID and other nasties?”

“Counting.”

“Well, no matter, Scripture gives us seventy, so I’m living on bonus time.”

“I know, you call me every morning to let me know.”

 

****

 

“Good morning, Dear.”

“Hi, Mom! How come you’re not dialing Jerry?”

“His phone number isn’t working.”

“Oh.”

“Did you know that three months, three weeks and four days have passed since my seventieth birthday?”

“Sure.”

“I’m celebrating!”

“Lunch with the girls? Manicure? Signing up for a new app?”

“No, most of them are on a cruise. I don’t like nail polish. You didn’t forget? Besides, I’m happy using dated technology. No new apps for this grandma.

“So, I’m celebrating by calling you.”

“Oh . . . Did you know I got to the office two hours ago?”

“The early bird . . .”

“Mom, you can’t call me every morning.”

“I see.”

“Maybe, after the kids are asleep, I can Zoom with you.”

“Sure. ‘See’ you in fourteen hours.”

“Mom!”

“What?”

“Do you always have to make me feel guilty?”

“I just called to wish you a ‘good morning.’ No guilt attached. Hanging up, now.”

 

****

 

A senior citizen fights against snowdrifts in boots, a parka, and assorted cold weather gear as she makes her way among tombstones. She pauses at one.

“Berel, you were supposed to outlive me. I get it that your father caved, but a son ought to respect his mother. I wanted to read to your children! I wanted to meet your wife! I wanted to clap at your college graduation! You didn’t let me do any of that.

“Did you know that today is four years, ten months, one week and two days past my seventieth birthday? I would have gladly given you my decades, instead, if it had been possible.

“Anyway, the docs say the cancer’s returned. I wanted to tell someone.”

 

****

 

“Mommy, Teri told me you’ve been calling her at work. You shouldn’t do that.”

“If a mother can’t say ‘good morning’ to her children, what’s the point of motherhood?”

“Carpool is picking up in five, so please just tell me today’s count.”

“I’m five years and a day past my seventieth birthday.”

“You’re ancient.”

“Yup.”

“Oh, there’s the horn. Gotta go. Love you. Kisses and hugs.”

 

****

 

Three adults, their spouses, and their children make their way among tombstones. They pause at a fresh gravesite.

“Five years, six months, and four days since her seventieth birthday.”

“I shouldn’t have changed my phone number. Her calls took only a few minutes.”

“I shouldn’t have told her I was busy at work when all I was doing was sipping my second coffee and checking my Facebook account.”

“I should have been honest and let her know that carpool was a lifeline for me after Peter was diagnosed. I never told her about his illness—I didn’t want to add to her burdens. Now, I realize it would have been better to have had her involved. At least the surgery worked and Peter’s clear.”

“Five years, six months, and four days since her seventieth birthday.”

“Which do you think was worse for her, Berel’s death or Dad’s?”

“She was really afraid of dying. Her calls were her way of celebrating each droplet of life.”

“Poetic.”

“Seriously! It must have been awful to live so many hours, days, weeks, months, and years alone.”

“You sound like Mom.”

“Good! Expect calls from me if I pass seventy.”

 

 

 

KJ Hannah Greenberg has been playing with words and images for an awfully long time. Check out her poetry and art book, One-Handed Pianist (Hekate Publishing, 2021).

In Association with Black Petals & Fossil Publications 2022