Upon Meeting a Boy on the Street, While Carrying the Cremated Remains of My Alice by Keith Hoerner

The kid says it, and the bell can’t be unrung, “Your wife’s nothing but a pile of dirt, now.” Was it just the uncorrupted, clear-eyed innocence of a child, or did he mean to be cruel? And could a child, a boy of only eight or nine years old, be so insidious? I try to adjust my thinking, flip the switch from darkness to light, but the old filaments in my mind snap; glass shatters—synapses misfire. I grab his neck with my right hand, squeeze the small cardboard box in my left, and make him eat his words. 

Keith Hoerner (BS, MFA) lives, teaches, and pushes words around in Southern Illinois. Published in 100+ literary journals/anthologies (across five continents: North America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia), he is founding editor of the Webby Award recognized Dribble Drabble Review, as well as a Best Book and American Writing Finalist.