The golden pothos was left in the front of the chapel when my father’s casket was loaded and taken away. They took the wreaths of wilting yellow roses and Assorted Seasonal arrangements. They took the floral foam crosses weighed down with ball chrysanthemums suffocated with spray glitter like macabre homecoming corsages. They took the display ladder with seven pots of lilies that made me sneeze so at least I looked like I was grieving so no one would ask why I wasn’t there to see him lowered into the same vindictive Texas soil he sprang from and carried under his fingernails his entire life until the undertaker cleaned him up to meet his maker.
I placed the pothos in the passenger seat, rolled down the windows and pointed his ancient Trans Am west. I drove until the live oaks and pecans shrank to shrubs and were replaced by prickly pears and cholla. Somewhere between a boarded-up gas station and a dry wash I pulled over and threw what was left of him over the barbed wire into the sagebrush where it could shrivel and die from neglect like everything else he left behind.
Laurie Marshall is a writer and artist working in Northwest Arkansas. Recent stories have been awarded the 2021 Lascaux Flash Fiction Prize, included in the 2022 Bath Flash Fiction Award anthology, and nominated for Best Small Fictions 2022. She reads for Fractured Lit and Longleaf Review. Words and art have been published in Emerge Literary Journal, Versification, Bending Genres, Twin Pies Literary, and Flash Frog among others. Connect on Twitter @LaurieMMarshall.